Poll shows 17% of Americans believe Trump can unseat Biden before election, reveals surprising demographics

Monmouth University released a new poll Thursday addressing issues of election integrity and hypothetical “what if Trump had won” questions, and it shows that about 1 out of every 6 Americans still think Trump can be reinstated before the 2024 elections.

Though not specifically mentioned, the question is centered around a faction of the QAnon followers who have repeatedly put forth eyebrow-raising scenarios in which former President Trump would somehow regain his rightful seat in the Oval Office, aided, at least in part, by a resurrected JFK, Jr.

While one would be hard-pressed to find anyone who takes these fringe views seriously, the beliefs have been used as a political football for those who would like to paint all Trump supporters as unhinged and dangerous.

The Monmouth poll, while not quite as glib as Twitter critics, is perhaps attempting to do the same thing, as evidenced by the headline declaring: “‘Big Lie’ persists; some still see path to overturn 2020 result.”

“Would the country be better or worse off if Donald Trump beat Joe Biden in 2020? The nation is evenly divided on this hypothetical question,” the report reads. “The current poll also finds that 17% of the public thinks there is still a path to reverse the electoral vote count and replace Biden with Trump before the next presidential election.”

Monmouth breaks down that 17%: 6% believed there is “definitely” a path and 11% said it could “probably” occur.

But here’s where the numbers get interesting. Of those who claim to hold that belief, only 30% are Republicans. Fifteen percent of the believers are Independents and, surprisingly, 5% are Democrats. Along with the 32% of Americans who believe Biden’s victory in 2020 was the result of fraud, “about 1 in 8 Americans (12%) believe that Biden stole the election and that there is still a chance to overturn the 2020 result.”

“The persistence of the ‘big lie’ continues to be a warning sign. It is being fed and nurtured by messages that tout the possibility of overturning the 2020 result even though no such legal mechanism exists,” Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, said. “While the number who hold this view might not sound like a lot right now, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t take an outright majority to destabilize institutions.”

The poll also reveals that 42% of those surveyed believe the nation would be in a better place now, had Trump been elected rather than Joe Biden. Forty percent believe we would be worse off, and only 16% think things would pretty much be the same. Americans across the various demographic groups appear to be pretty evenly split on this question, though Monmouth points out that 56% of those with a college degree feel we’d be worse off now, had Trump won. Of those without a degree, 48% believe we’d be better off.

Interestingly, the poll also finds that more people now, 41%, consider voter fraud to be a major issue in the nation, up from 37% in June 2021.

The solution, if one is to believe the numbers, is clear, at least in the minds of those polled: voter ID.

A whopping 80% of Americans are in favor of requiring voters to show a photo ID in order to cast their ballot, a number that is unchanged from the June results. The measure is supported by nearly all Republicans and 6 in 10 Democrats, which may come as a surprise to the Dems in D.C.

“Voting access and election integrity are two sides of the same coin. Most Americans would like to see both issues addressed,” said Murray. “It’s interesting that, in a vacuum, many Republicans support the idea of creating national election guidelines. The question is whether their concept of what those national guidelines should be are inherently different from other Americans or simply that partisan tribalism alters your position once the issue hits the public sphere.”

“The questions we asked in this poll are about democratic processes where we have the sense they are seen as representing a ‘public good’ but the impacts are not obvious or salient for many people,” Murray states. “These results only scratch the surface of where public opinion stands and how it could move.”

 

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Melissa Fine

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