Critics of President Trump have repeatedly warned of his potential to undermine American democracy. Among the concerns are his repeated assertions that he would have won the popular vote had 3 to 5 million “illegals” not voted in the 2016 election, a claim echoed by the head of a White House advisory committee on voter fraud.
Claims of large-scale voter fraud are not true, but that has not stopped a substantial number of Republicans from believing them. But how far would Republicans be willing to follow the president to stop what they perceive as rampant fraud? Our recent survey suggests that the answer is quite far: About half of Republicans say they would support postponing the 2020 presidential election until the country can fix this problem.
Here’s how we did our research:
The survey interviewed a sample of 1,325 Americans from June 5 through 20. Respondents were recruited from the Qualtrics online panel who had previously reported identifying with or leaning toward one of the two major parties. We focus on the 650 respondents who identify with or lean toward the Republican Party. The sample has been weighted to match the population in terms of sex, age, race and education.
After a series of initial questions, respondents were asked whether Trump won the popular vote, whether millions of illegal immigrants voted, and how often voter fraud occurs. These questions evoke arguments frequently made by Trump and others about the integrity of the 2016 election.
Then the survey asked two questions about postponing the 2020 election.
- If Donald Trump were to say that the 2020 presidential election should be postponed until the country can make sure that only eligible American citizens can vote, would you support or oppose postponing the election?
- What if both Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress were to say that the 2020 presidential election should be postponed until the country can make sure that only eligible American citizens can vote? Would you support or oppose postponing the election?
Roughly half of Republicans believe Trump won the popular vote — and would support postponing the 2020 election.
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SOURCE: The Washington Post, Ariel Malka and Yphtach Lelkes