Poll: A quarter of Americans believe Donald Trump remains ‘true president’ of the US

WASHINGTON — One-fourth of the country believes that former President Donald Trump is the “true president” of the United States right now, according to a recent Ipsos/Thomas Reuters Foundation poll.

Over six months after the 2020 election and four months after Joe Biden’s victory was certified by Congress, 25% of Americans surveyed, including 53% of Republicans, believe Trump is still the “true president” of the country, a finding in line with previous polls showing that a significant portion of the U.S. does not accept the legitimacy of the presidential election.

The poll surveyed 2,007 Americans, including 909 Democrats and 754 Republicans, in an online sampling from across the U.S. between May 17-19. The poll has a credibility interval of about 4%. Ipsos relied on its own online panel for responses, while also soliciting responses in online ads through a process known as “river” sampling. Such methods are not considered as rigorous as traditional polling methods.

According to the poll, 32% of Americans agreed with the statement that the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot “was led by violent left-wing protestors trying to make Trump look bad,” including 55% of Republicans, 24% of independents and 16% of Democrats.

There is no evidence that left-wing activists contributed to the violence at the Capitol in any way. Multiple investigations from federal law enforcement, the judicial system and news media have found that the vast majority of rioters were pro-Trump agitators spurred on by the president’s comments denouncing his election loss.

Views on U.S. Capitol riot, voter fraud allegations

Most agreed Trump was responsible for that violence, at 58% of those polled by Ipsos. Democrats and independents were again much more likely than Republicans to believe Trump was in any way responsible for the riots, with 65% of GOP members disagreeing with the statement.

Overall, the poll found that only 55% of Americans believe the election was entirely “legitimate and accurate,” with confidence levels sharply breaking along partisan lines: 86% of Democrats believe the election was conducted fairly and accurately versus 53% of independents and 25% of Republicans.

The poll also found that 20% of those surveyed do not know whether the election was legitimate or fraudulent.

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In the run-up to and since the Nov. 3 election, Trump repeatedly spread false conspiracy theories about voting, including that there was widespread voter fraud that affected the outcome of the race.

The Ipsos/Reuters poll found that 30% of those surveyed agree the 2020 election “was stolen from Donald Trump,” with 57% disagreeing overall and 48% strongly disagreeing with the sentiment. Partisan divides were again evident; 61% of Republicans somewhat or strongly agreed with the idea that the election was stolen from Trump.

The poll also found widespread concern about election fraud, raising questions of democratic legitimacy in one of the world’s oldest democracies. The data revealed that one-third of the public and over half of Republicans expressed concerns about the accuracy of mail-in-voting and absentee ballots in the poll.

There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election. The Trump-era Justice Department determined that there were no such credible claims of voter fraud, as did state and federal courts across the country, including the Supreme Court. Independent investigations by news media have determined claims of voter fraud are largely based on out-of-context or false information.

By the numbers: President Donald Trump’s failed efforts to overturn the election

In a rare moment of bipartisan consensus, most Democrats, Republicans and independents all expressed concern “that ballots are rejected for silly procedural reasons.” 

Republican state lawmakers across the country have responded to widespread skepticism of the election among GOP voters by proposing a wave of election security bills across the country that would reduce access to voting in a number of ways. Critics have accused lawmakers of voter suppression while pointing out there is no substantial evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.

The poll also captured concerns among Americans that future instances of violence may be on the horizon. When asked what the most significant threat to the safety of the average American, 42% said “politically or religiously motivated domestic terrorism” was the gravest threat, compared to 42% who believed “random acts of violence” was most pressing compared to only 17% who cited foreign terrorism as a major threat.

Trump himself was elated by many of the poll’s findings. “A new Ipsos/Reuters poll ‘Beliefs Among Republicans’ shows 53% believe Donald Trump is the true President (I always knew America was smart!),” reads a statement from the former president’s office, issued Tuesday morning.

Follow Matthew Brown online @mrbrownsir.

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