Vast Majority of Republicans Believe Vote by Mail Was a Fraudulent Process, Trump Is the Real Winner of the 2020 Election

Leib Litman, PhD

By Leib Litman, PhD, Aaron Moss, PhD, Cheskie Rosenzweig, MS, Jonathan Robinson, PhD, Adam Dietrich & Shalom Jaffe

Even though former Vice President Joe Biden was declared the winner of the Presidential election nearly a week ago, on November 7th, President Donald Trump has refused to concede. Trump’s refusal—along with the continued counting of mail in votes, recounts in some states, and a flurry of lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign—has left many aspects of the election feeling unsettled. A new survey by shows that many voters have embraced President Trump’s claims about the election, with Republicans agreeing with claims of fraud much more than Democrats. 

Overall, our survey finds that although Joe Biden has been declared president-elect, people’s opinions have not changed much since the days immediately following the election. Specifically, we find 72% of Republicans have come to believe that the voting system in the US is “completely corrupt.” Seventy-five percent of Republicans also believe that voting by mail was a fraudulent process, that votes in the names of many dead people were cast and counted for Biden (62%), that poll watchers were illegally stopped from monitoring the count (69%), that ballots were invalidated with sharpies (62%), that some votes were mysteriously created in the middle of the night (65%), and that delays in counting votes are also an example of fraud (72%). By comparison, for most of these items less than 5% of Democrats agree. 

On the whole, 78% of Republicans believe that Donald Trump “is being cheated out of winning the election” compared to just 3% of Democrats and 30% of Independents. Along the same lines, most Republicans (69%) report that regardless of what may happen next, they “fundamentally believe that the will of the voters in the US is to re-elect President Trump.” Just 3.4% of Democrats said the same thing.

Despite many Republicans’ belief that the election was stolen, less than half of people think Trump still has a shot at retaining the Presidency (48%) and a small majority (57%) say they will accept Joe Biden as President if the courts throw out Trump’s legal challenges. 


These data are from an online survey conducted by on November 9th, 2020 using Prime Panels. To control for priming effects, the presentation order of all questions was randomized for each respondent. A total of 824 respondents over the age of 18 completed our survey. The sample was weighted using iterative proportional fitting (“raking”) to match the ACS 2018 5-year estimates on gender, age, race, ethnicity, education, and income. The margin of error for the unweighted sample is ±3.4 percentage points; margins of error are larger for subgroup estimates. The full report is available here.

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