CNN Poll: Most Americans don’t expect Trump to concede if he loses election

Most Americans think that former President Donald Trump will not concede if he loses the presidential election in November, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS. And despite the vast majority of Americans agreeing that the loser of an election has an obligation to accept the results and concede, only about half of registered voters see Trump’s false claims that he won the 2020 presidential election as a reason to vote against him in 2024.

A 78% majority of Americans say they think that President Joe Biden will accept the results and concede if he loses the election this November.

But roughly 7 in 10 Americans (71%) doubt that Trump will concede if he loses again in November, while only 28% believe he will. Half of Republicans now say they think Trump would concede a loss, up from 41% in a January poll taken amid the primary season. Among the public overall, doubts that Trump would concede are little changed from January, but remain heightened compared with October 2020, when a smaller 58% majority of US adults said they didn’t expect him to concede if he lost the 2020 election.

In CNN’s June presidential debate, Trump refused to state unequivocally that he would accept this year’s election results, twice deflecting the question before saying he would do so “if it’s a fair and legal and good election” and repeating claims about election fraud. There is no evidence of election fraud that would have altered the outcome of the 2020 election.

Most Americans (84%) say that the loser of the race has an obligation to concede once every state has officially certified its vote for president. That number has remained relatively unchanged since January and since Trump and Biden faced off in October 2020.

Among registered voters who say they would support Biden in a head-to-head matchup against Trump, 95% believe the loser has an obligation to concede. This figure sits lower, at 77%, for those who would vote for Trump.

Among current Biden supporters, there is almost universal agreement both that Biden would concede if he lost the election (97%) and that Trump would not (94%).

Current Trump supporters also broadly agree about Biden, with 62% saying they think he will concede if he loses the election. On Trump, they’re about evenly split, with 50% saying that Trump would concede and 49% saying he would not.

Trump supporters who say candidates have an obligation to concede mostly think Trump and Biden would do so (55% say that Trump would and 68% that Biden would), while those Trump backers who say no such obligation exists mostly see both presidential candidates as unlikely to concede.

The poll also shows that, despite widespread belief that the loser of a presidential election should concede, only about half of registered voters think Trump’s refusal to concede in 2020 is a reason to oppose his 2024 run.

Forty-nine percent of registered voters say that Trump’s claims that he won the 2020 election are a reason to vote against him in 2024, while 17% say they are a reason to vote for him. One-third of registered voters (33%) say his claims don’t make a difference either way.

More than half (55%) of current Trump supporters are indifferent toward his 2020 election claims, and about one-third (34%) say they are a reason to vote for him in 2024. Only 11% of current Trump supporters say his election claims are a reason to vote against him. By contrast, current Biden supporters reach a 92% consensus that Trump’s claims are a reason to vote against him.

Nearly half (46%) of Trump’s staunchest supporters – those who say they back him out of affirmative support, rather than opposition to Biden – say they consider Trump’s claims about the 2020 election a positive. By contrast, just 10% of Trump supporters who say they’d mostly support him as a vote against Biden see Trump’s election claims as a reason to vote for him, with 28% calling them a negative, and 62% saying they don’t make a difference either way.

Beyond partisanship, the results also highlight a sharp educational divide, with college graduates 28 percentage points likelier than those without a degree to say Trump’s 2020 election claims are a reason to vote against him this year.

The CNN poll was conducted by SSRS from June 28-30 among a random national sample of 1,274 adults drawn from a probability-based panel, including 1,045 registered voters. Surveys were either conducted online or by telephone with a live interviewer. Results among the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. For results among registered voters, it is plus or minus 3.7 points.

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