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About half of Republicans don’t think Joe Biden should be sworn in as president

A new Vox/DFP poll finds that most Republicans are still questioning the election results.

Then-presidential nominee Joe Biden at the Democratic National Convention in August in Wilmington, Delaware.
Win McNamee/Getty Images
Li Zhou is a politics reporter at Vox, where she covers Congress and elections. Previously, she was a tech policy reporter at Politico and an editorial fellow at the Atlantic.

Despite the congressional certification of the presidential election results last week, an overwhelming majority of Republicans still don’t trust the outcome — and almost half don’t think that President-elect Joe Biden should be inaugurated, according to a new poll from Vox and Data for Progress.

In a survey fielded in the days after a group of President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the US Capitol (January 8 to 11), 72 percent of likely Republican voters said they continue to question the presidential election results. Nearly three-quarters of Republicans, or 74 percent, said allegations of voter fraud have contributed to these concerns. Those are overwhelming majorities, but even among independents, 42 percent said they do not currently trust the election results.

The GOP is more split on the presidential transition, with 49 percent of Republicans saying they have doubts about the election outcome and oppose Biden’s inauguration, 29 percent saying they still have doubts about the outcome but believe Biden should be inaugurated, and 16 percent saying they trust the election results and think Biden should be inaugurated. A total of 1,233 likely voters were polled for the survey, which has a margin of error of 2.8 percentage points.

More broadly, Trump’s repeated unfounded allegations of election fraud appear to be affecting how people perceive the electoral system overall — not just the 2020 presidential contest. While 55 percent of people said they continue to trust the electoral process in the United States, 39 percent of people said they don’t trust it, including 65 percent of Republicans, compared to 12 percent of Democrats.

These findings are consistent with those in other recent surveys: A Quinnipiac poll out Monday also found that 73 percent of Republicans believe there’s widespread voter fraud, compared to 5 percent of Democrats who felt the same.

These results indicate that the allegations raised by Trump and his Republican allies have resonated with a large majority of the Republican base, so much so that some remain opposed to the presidential transition because of the doubts they harbor about the election results. This sharp divide in perceptions about the election outcome is also evident in how people interpreted the storming of the Capitol last week, this Vox/DFP poll finds. Such splits could have major implications for how Republican lawmakers approach policies under the incoming Biden administration, particularly if much of their base is wary of the legitimacy of his presidency.

Reactions to the storming of the Capitol fell heavily along party lines

People’s perceptions of the attack on the Capitol last week also differed significantly based on their party affiliation. Eighty-one percent of Democrats viewed the riot — which took place as Congress was certifying the presidential election results — as a threat to democracy, while 64 percent of independents and 47 percent of Republicans felt the same.

Democrats were also far more likely to say that President Donald Trump and congressional lawmakers were to blame for inciting the violence that took place at the Capitol, while Republicans were more likely to blame Democrats in Congress, President-elect Biden, and anti-fascist protesters, or antifa. As Vox’s Jerusalem Demsas reported, some conservative lawmakers began falsely blaming the violence on antifa shortly after the attacks took place last week, an explanation that appears to have caught on with some members of the party.

Overall, 63 percent of people blame Trump for inciting the violence, including 90 percent of Democrats and 32 percent of Republicans, and 51 percent of people blame Republican lawmakers, including 78 percent of Democrats and 25 percent of Republicans. Meanwhile, 37 percent of people blame Democratic lawmakers, including 11 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of Republicans, and 30 percent blame Biden, including 9 percent of Democrats and 53 percent of Republicans. Forty-seven percent of people blame antifa, including 29 percent of Democrats and 68 percent of Republicans.

Opinions regarding how lawmakers should respond to the attack also fall largely along party lines. Fifty-two percent of all people think the 25th Amendment should be invoked and Vice President Mike Pence should force Trump to step down, while 51 percent of people think Trump should be impeached. Eighty-five percent of Democrats back impeachment, while 17 percent of Republicans do. The House is poised to vote on Trump’s impeachment for the second time this week, this time charging him with inciting an insurrection.

As this poll makes clear, many Republicans still believe allegations of voter fraud that Trump has misleadingly raised for months, and some are even doubting the Democratic process because of them.

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