Our book, Divided We Stand, looks at the 2020 election and the January 6 insurrection. Some Republican leaders -- and a measurable number of rank-and-file voters -- are open to violent rebellion, coups, and secession.
From the University of Massachusetts Amherst:
One year after thousands of supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to protest and disrupt the certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election, the results of a new national University of Massachusetts Amherst Poll released today show 71% of Republicans – and one-third of the nation – continue to believe that Biden’s victory was illegitimate, and that Republicans continue to blame Democrats, Antifa and the Capitol Police for the events of Jan. 6. They also oppose both the continuation of law enforcement efforts to prosecute the rioters and attempts to learn more about what happened that day.
The poll of 1,000 respondents found that only 58% of Americans believe that Biden’s electoral victory was legitimate, with more than a fifth (22%) saying that it was “definitely not legitimate,” numbers nearly identical to an April 2021 UMass Amherst Poll (59% / 24%). Only one-fifth of Republicans (21%) view Biden’s victory as legitimate.
Republicans continue to defend the events of Jan. 6 and those who perpetrated the attacks on the capitol, with 80% describing the events as a “protest,” while the majority (55%) of all respondents of the poll use the term “riot.” While 62% of Republicans said the perpetrators were “protestors,” more than a quarter (26%) deemed the pro-Trump horde “patriots,” while similar numbers (27%) also said they were “Antifa.” Democrats, meanwhile, nearly equally described them as “insurrectionists,” “white nationalists” and “rioters” (68% each), a “mob” (67%) and “terrorists” (64%).
Regarding who should be held responsible for the day’s events, a broad majority of Democrats blame Trump, while Republicans continue to blame the Democratic Party (30%), the Capitol Police (24%) and Antifa (20%), all of which show little movement from April’s polling results.
While 86% of Democrats support continuing law enforcement efforts to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of the Capitol attack, only 29% of Republicans support them, and 52% replied that they oppose the efforts. Three-quarters of Republicans also said the nation should “move on” from investigating the events, while 84% of Democrats say we need to learn more about what happened on Jan. 6. Overall, women are more supportive of both law enforcement efforts (61-53) and congressional investigations (62-50) than men.
Sixty-two percent of Republicans – and 37% of the poll’s respondents overall – said that former Vice President Mike Pence should have used his role in certifying the electoral vote to challenge Biden’s victory as the protestors chanted for his execution that day.
Republicans also downplay the potential severity of the day’s violence, with 72% saying they believe Pence and members of Congress were not in danger of harm by the Capitol’s invaders, while 84% of Democrats say that the lawmakers faced physical threat.
Looking ahead to the 2022 midterm elections, 55% of Republicans say that a candidate questioning the legitimacy of Biden’s victory would be more likely to receive their vote. Such claims would entice only 23% of independents, however, while 38% of independents said it would make the candidate less likely to garner their support. More than a third of Republicans (36%) said that a candidate refusing to say that Biden was legitimately elected president would make them more likely to vote for the candidate, while half (49%) of independents say it would make the candidate less likely to receive their vote.
This University of Massachusetts Amherst Poll of 1,000 respondents nationwide was conducted by YouGov Dec. 14-20. YouGov interviewed 1036 total respondents who were then matched down to a sample of 1,000 to produce the final dataset. The respondents were matched to a sampling frame on gender, age, race and education. The frame was constructed by stratified sampling from the full 2019 American Community Survey (ACS) one-year sample with selection within strata by weighted sampling with replacements, using the person weights on the public use file.
The matched cases were weighted to the sampling frame using propensity scores. The matched cases and the frame were combined and a logistic regression was estimated for inclusion in the frame. The propensity score function included age, gender, race/ethnicity and years of education. The propensity scores were grouped into deciles of the estimated propensity score in the frame and post-stratified according to these deciles.
The weights were then post-stratified on 2016 and 2020 Presidential vote choice, and a four-way stratification of gender, age (4-categories), race (4-categories) and education (4-categories) to produce the final weight.
The margin of error within this poll is 3.1%.
Topline results and crosstabs for the poll can be found at www.umass.edu/poll