The Civiqs data are more dire than similar polling by other outlets, which was already troubling. That may partially come down to differences in the way the question was asked. In May, for instance, a Quinnipiac University poll found 66% of Republicans did not think “Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election was legitimate.” But in nearly every poll on the topic over the last several months, at least a majority and usually closer to two-thirds of Republicans alternately say they believe the election was stolen and that Biden is not the legitimate president. That level of delusion among GOP voters is a stubborn reality that isn’t going away.
Civiqs findings this week seem reflective of previous polling the outlet has done for Daily Kos. In last month’s co-branded poll, 74% of GOP voters identified themselves as a “pro-Trump Republican,” while just 6% called themselves an “anti-Trump Republican,” and 17% of Republican voters said they didn’t have strong feelings about Trump.
So if roughly three-quarters of GOP voters self-identify as pro-Trump, it’s not a leap to imagine 80% of Republican voters saying they “agree” with Trump’s false assertion that 2020 was stolen from him.
The pervasive level of distrust in the electoral system among Republican voters is troubling on any level, but how it will play out at the polls is an open question. On one hand, Republican voters might rush to the polls in the next couple cycles, driven by their outrage over 2020. Certainly, that’s what GOP politicians hope will happen.
But in another scenario, Trump’s constant fixation on his completely baseless and unproven claims about 2020 could serve to depress some turnout among his cultists, while also continuing to galvanize a small but potentially important sliver of never-Trumpers.
In the Civiqs survey, 11% of GOP voters said they didn’t believe the election was stolen. It’s possible that some of those voters will actually be disgusted by the continued fealty of GOP lawmakers to Trump and his corrosive lies. Indeed, a fairly consistent slice of the GOP electorate, some 18%, have told pollsters they would like Trump to have no role in the party moving forward.
At the same time, Republicans more generally have a dismal view of the party as a whole, according to fresh AP-NORC polling out this week. Just 41% of GOP respondents said they were optimistic about the state of the party. More than likely, both pro-Trumpers and never-Trumpers are dismayed that the Republican Party hasn’t hewed more closely to their point of view.
In actuality, the Republican Party is even more Trumpish now than it has ever been, but for Trump and his cult following, it will never be enough. That’s not good news for the GOP, and it’s even worse news for the country, but the short-term electoral effects could ultimately be a net-plus for Democrats.
Honestly, it’s all guesswork at this point; the country is in profoundly uncharted territory.