How Voters' Trust in Elections Shifted in Response to Biden's Victory
A survey research project gauging how voters responded to unprecedented electoral conditions
By: Nick Laughlin and Peyton Shelburne | Last Updated: Jan. 27, 2021

After last week’s rebound, Republican confidence in the 2020 election outcome ticked down again this week: 32 percent of GOP voters say the election was free and fair, down 4 percentage points from last week. The movement has also driven further distrust in general confidence in the U.S. elections system. 

The latest findings are based on a Jan. 22-25 survey of 1,990 registered voters nationwide, and are part of an ongoing research project to gauge the level of trust Americans have in their electoral system. 

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Republican trust in elections ticks down again: 33 percent of GOP voters say they trust U.S. elections, down from 38 percent last week. 

Confidence that the 2020 election was free and fair hits a high point: 65 percent of voters say the election was free and fair, including 92 percent of Democrats and 32 percent of Republicans. 

Few voters of either party say violence is ever appropriate: 14 percent of Democrats and 11 percent of Republicans agree that violence is “appropriate when citizens believe something is wrong with their government.”

A majority of Republicans support Trump’s decision to concede: 60 percent of Republicans say they support this decision, up 4 points from last week. 

Democrats are more motivated to vote in future elections based on the outcome of this election: 53 percent of Democrats say they are more motivated, compared to 36 percent of Republicans. Republicans are also three times more likely than Democrats to say they are less motivated, 15 percent compared to 5 percent.

Republican trust in U.S. elections plummets in the wake of the 2020 election
The share of registered voters who say they trust the United States' election system either "a lot" or "some:"

65% of voters believe the 2020 election was free and fair
The share of registered voters who say the 2020 presidential election was “probably” or “definitely” free and fair. In pre-election surveys, voters were asked if they expected the election to be free and fair.

A majority of Republicans believe there was widespread fraud. Those voters were most likely to cite information from Trump and Fox News as the basis for that view
Republican voters who believe there is evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 U.S. presidential election were asked which of the following sources, if any, helped lead them to believe that information. Respondents could select all that apply:

Few voters of either party say violence is ever appropriate
Registered voters were asked, "Is violence ever appropriate when citizens believe something is wrong with their government?"

Democrats are more motivated to vote in future elections based on the outcome of this election
Voters were asked, "Based on the outcome of the 2020 elections, would you say you are:"

A majority of Republicans support Trump’s decision to concede
Voters were asked, "As you may know, President Trump conceded the election to Joe Biden, acknowledging that a new administration will begin on January 20th. Do you approve or disapprove of President Trump’s concession?"

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