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More than half of Republican voters believe spurious, partisan-driven audits of the 2020 presidential election will change the outcome and award votes to Donald Trump, according to results from a Morning Consult/Politico poll.
The results found that a “large chunk” of the GOP voting base is following Mr Trump’s “backward-looking lead” as he continues to undermine the legitimacy of the election and amplifies a baseless “stolen election” narrative powering sweeping, Republican-sponsored voting laws and ballot reviews in states that he definitely lost.
Roughly 74 per cent of Republican voters surveyed support state-level efforts to review the results of the 2020 election, while 51 per cent believe those reviews will uncover information that will change the outcome.
The results follow another survey, which found that roughly three in 10 Republican voters believe it’s possible Mr Trump will be reinstated this year, a baseless fantasy that the former president has reportedly discussed with his allies.
Dozens of voting measures proposed by Republicans and mulled in nearly every state this year will make it more difficult to vote; GOP lawmakers have argued that the bills are necessary to restore “voter confidence” and “election integrity”, despite no evidence of widespread fraud discovered by Mr Trump’s own campaign and administration, the US Department of Justice, FBI and elections officials of both parties across the US.
But it is Mr Trump’s election loss, and his ongoing assault on the democratic process, that has “contributed to a decline in confidence among Republican voters” about the nation’s electoral process itself, the poll found.
That figure has remained “stubbornly low” across weekly assessments of the state of Americans’ trust in their institutions.
Roughly half of Americans have trusted the electoral process since November 2020 through June 2021, polling found.
Mr Trump’s persistent lie that the election was “stolen” from him, and his ongoing allegations that the election was the “most corrupt” and a “hoax” even before a single ballot was cast, have reportedly worried some Republican strategists who fear his own undermining will damage turnout in critical midterm elections.
“The danger with him is always that he juices turnout – Democratic turnout, that is – and that he continues to remind people why they turned him out last year,” said Scott Jennings, a former campaign strategist for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, in remarks to Morning Consult. “He could also put GOP candidates in awkward positions if he continues to re-litigate and make false claims about the 2020 election.”
Several hand recounts and audits in states Mr Trump lost have affirmed his loss: Mr Trump lost the national popular vote to Joe Biden by roughly 7 million votes, and the Electoral College by 74 votes.
Partisan efforts to review the results, again, are underway in Arizona, where the company overseeing the inquisition has supported baseless election conspiracy theories; similar audits have been called for Georgia and Pennsylvania.
US Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Justice Department have warned that “disinformation”-backed vote reviews may put the integrity of the voting process at risk and undermine public confidence in our democracy,” Mr Garland said.