Nearly half of Republican voters think it’s OK for state legislators to overturn election results, a new study has shown.
The survey found that in general, GOP voters widely believe Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen, and highly support his and others’ efforts to challenge the results.
“Among Republicans, 85 per cent believe it was appropriate for Trump to file lawsuits challenging election results in several states, and the same proportion believe that vote-by-mail increases vote fraud,” the researchers wrote.
After losing the election, former president Trump spent months pushing the “big lie” that he had actually won. His legal team pursued dozens of cases alleging various forms of election fraud. The vast majority of those cases were dismissed or defeated in court, and the lawyer leading the effort, Rudy Giuliani, recently had his law license suspended.
Meanwhile, Mr Trump pressured individual election officials to reject their own vote counts, contravening their legal responsibilities. Most of those officials, such as Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger, refused Mr Trump’s demands, but were castigated by their fellow Republicans for doing so.
The Voter Study Group found that most Republican voters support these efforts to undo the election. Almost 62 per cent believe that Mr Biden is not a legitimate president, the survey found, and about two thirds believe Mr Trump actually won in 2020.
Meanwhile, only a small minority of the broader American public believes these things. Only 23 per cent of Americans believe state legislators are entitled to overturn an election, the study found.
The report’s author, Lee Drutman, believes this gap is cause for concern about the United States’ future stability.
“To the extent that the Republican Party is focused on righting the alleged wrongs of the 2020 election by changing the rules and wresting power from independent election administrators, American democracy is likely to become even more contested and unstable,” Mr Drutman wrote.