Poll: Two-thirds of Republicans still think the 2020 election was rigged

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A majority of Republicans still believe the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump, according to a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll. The latest findings show how persistent this false narrative continues to be, despite the preponderance of evidence against it.

In this Jan. 6, 2021 file photo, Trump supporters participate in a rally in Washington prior to the deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol. (John Minchillo/AP)
Trump supporters at a rally prior to the deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. (John Minchillo/AP)

The survey of 1,552 U.S. adults, which was conducted from July 30 to Aug. 2, found that 66 percent of Republicans continue to insist that “the election was rigged and stolen from Trump,” while just 18 percent believe “Joe Biden won fair and square.” Twenty-eight percent of independent voters also said they think Trump was the rightful winner of the 2020 election, as did a small 3 percent of Democrats.

While those who continue to hold this unsubstantiated view about the election are in the overall minority, representing just 29 percent of total respondents, the number has remained relatively unchanged over the last several months. Since January, similar surveys have found that between 27 and 29 percent of people believe the election was rigged.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a
Then-President Donald Trump at the “Save America Rally” near the White House on Jan. 6. (Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Trump has continually repeated this falsehood since the November election, offering a mixture of debunked conspiracy theories to allege widespread fraud.

The then president’s false claims fueled a violent mob of his supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in an effort to prevent Congress from certifying Biden’s win in the Electoral College.

Donald Trump supporters gather outside the U.S.Capitol building in Washington D.C. on January 06, 2021. Pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol as lawmakers were set to sign off on President-elect Joe Biden's electoral victory in what was supposed to be a routine process headed to Inauguration Day. (Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Trump supporters outside the Capitol amid the insurrection. (Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The latest Yahoo News/YouGov poll was conducted in the week following the first public hearing of the House select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack, which featured firsthand testimony from police officers who responded to the riot at the Capitol. The results indicate that the hearing did little to change the public’s perception of that event.

Since May, surveys have found that a majority of people — between 65 and 71 percent — believe the attack was not justified, and the latest poll falls within that range, at 69 percent. Blame for the Jan. 6 riot remained essentially unchanged from previous surveys, with 48 percent pointing the finger at Trump supporters who gathered at the Capitol, and the vast majority of that 48 percent blaming Trump himself.

A closer look at the respondents’ party affiliations shows a clear divide within these views: 81 percent of Democrats said Trump was responsible for the Jan. 6 attack, compared with just 9 percent of Republicans and 43 percent of independents. Only 15 percent of Republicans blamed Trump supporters who gathered at the Capitol for the violence that took place on Jan. 6, while 48 percent of Republicans said that “left wing protesters trying to make Trump look bad” were largely at fault. Conspiracy theories have falsely blamed liberal agitators like antifa for the attack.

Attitudes about the select committee’s probe and the first public hearing were similarly split along partisan lines. Overall, 51 percent of respondents supported more investigations into Jan. 6, with 83 percent of Biden supporters saying “we still need to find out the truth of what happened” on that day, while 62 percent of Trump supporters (31 percent of the total) said they think “there have been enough investigations already.” The same percentage of respondents (51 percent) agreed with the Capitol Police officers who described those who stormed the Capitol as “terrorists,” with 90 percent of Biden supporters agreeing with this characterization and 74 percent of Trump supporters (31 percent of the total) saying they disagree.

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The Yahoo News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,552 U.S. adults interviewed online from July 30 to Aug. 2, 2021. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, as well as 2020 presidential vote (or non-vote) and voter registration status. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all U.S. adults. The margin of error is approximately 2.7 percent.

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