Monkey Cage Analysis Analysis Interpretation of the news based on evidence, including data, as well as anticipating how events might unfold based on past events In a new poll, half of Republicans say they would support postponing the election if Trump proposed it By Ariel Malka and Yphtach Lelkes August 10, President Trump made remarks on July 19 at the first meeting of his commission investigating his allegations of voter fraud during the election.
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 presidential election until the country can fix this problem.
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 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 election. Then the survey asked two questions about postponing the election. If Donald Trump were to say that the 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 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? An American flag is refracted in raindrops on a window on July 4, in Merriam, Kan. Again, this is similar to previous polls. People who believed that Trump won the popular vote, that there were millions of illegal votes in , or that voter fraud is not rare were more likely to support postponing the election.
This support was also more prevalent among Republicans who were younger, were less educated, had less factual knowledge of politics and strongly identified with the party. Of course, this is still hypothetical. Of course, our survey is only measuring reactions to a hypothetical situation. Were Trump to seriously propose postponing the election, there would be a torrent of opposition, which would most likely include prominent Republicans.
Financial markets would presumably react negatively to the potential for political instability. And this is to say nothing of the various legal and constitutional complications that would immediately become clear. Citizens would almost certainly form their opinions amid such tumult, which does not at all resemble the context in which our survey was conducted.
Not as much as some pundits want you to believe ] Nevertheless, we do not believe that these findings can be dismissed out of hand.
At a minimum, they show that a substantial number of Republicans are amenable to violations of democratic norms that are more flagrant than what is typically proposed or studied.
And although the ensuing chaos could turn more Republicans against this kind of proposal, it is also conceivable that a high-stakes and polarized debate would do the exact opposite. Postponing the presidential election is not something that Trump or anyone in his administration has even hinted at, but for many in his constituency, floating such an idea may not be a step too far. Ariel Malka is an associate professor of psychology at Yeshiva University.