Americans primed to believe 2020 election is rigged

As early voting continues prior to Tuesday’s election, Americans are wondering whether to trust the results on Nov. 3.

Professor of government Tom Pepinsky is an expert on global democratization, authoritarianism and “regime cleavage.” In a recent survey, he and his co-authors asked Americans about their views on the legitimacy of election results.

“We find overwhelming evidence that Americans will view the election as legitimate only if their own candidate wins: the modal Republican respondent strongly agrees with the view that the election would be rigged if Biden wins, and the modal Democrat respondent strongly agrees that the election would be rigged if Trump wins. These differences cannot be attributed to respondents' demographic characteristics, like education, age, or place of residence.

“These findings have disturbing implications for American democracy. The essential requirement for democracy to ‘work’ is that citizens who support both parties must be willing to accept that elections are legitimate even when their preferred candidate loses. If savvy politicians choose to exploit these reactions to the legitimacy of election results, America's next couple of months could be dangerous.”

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Image by Yohan Euan 04/Creative Commons license 2.0


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