The so-called audit of the 2020 election
conducted by Arizona Republicans
is a charade based on conspiracy
theories and outright lies
that has no chance of overturning Donald Trump
's defeat to President Joe Biden
However, according to a Politico/Morning Consult poll released Wednesday, half of Republican voters
have bought into the former president's lies and believe the "audit" will produce evidence leading to Trump's eventual reinstatement as president.
The poll, which polled 1,994 registered voters nationwide on a variety of issues, found that 51% of registered Republican voters believe the audit will reveal information that could change the outcome of the election, with the figure being identical among self-identified Trump voters.
When we asked Republican senators if they planned to attend Trump's reinstatement ceremony this summer, they laughed and said no, except for Wisconsin
Sen. Ron Johnson
, who said he "hadn't heard about it."
However, the idea of a second Trump presidency appears to be taken seriously by many Republican voters, and people
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
(R-Ky.) and House
Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy
(R-Calif.) would rather smear Biden than lead their base to the truth.
Meanwhile, Trump has reportedly told associates that he will be reinstated as president in August, and he issues several statements a week alleging that the election was rigged. On Monday, he threatened Pennsylvania
Republicans who opposed an audit, saying, “What went on in Philadelphia
and other areas of the State must be properly and legally exposed.”
The Politico/Morning Consult poll is just the latest example of the potency of Trump and the Republican Party
's lies about the 2020 election. It doesn't matter that hundreds of actual election audits conducted in accordance with best practices, industry and legal standards found no evidence of widespread fraud, and election officials from both parties and in nearly every state found no evidence of widespread fraud.
That hasn't stopped an increasingly radical band of Republican lawmakers from spreading the same lies, which prompted the Arizona Senate GOP
to conduct its own "audit" of the results in Maricopa County
, where Trump lost last year.
The review, which many election observers refuse to call an audit, is being conducted by a firm with no experience auditing elections
; it is riddled with flaws; it has wasted time chasing conspiracy theories; and, as independent observers and even GOP election officials have noted, it has failed to adhere to even the most basic standards of a normal election audit.
Still, many Republicans who aided Trump in spreading lies about voter fraud continue to dismiss those claims: Sen. Ted Cruz
(R-Texas), a leader of the Senate Republican faction that sought to overturn the election, told Stardia this week that Democrats
and election officials who have criticized the audit are doing so because they aren't concerned enough about voter fraud.
“I think any effort to ensure election integrity is worthwhile,” Cruz said, adding that “it is bizarre how desperate Democrats and the corrupt corporate media
are to avoid any scrutiny into the issue of voter fraud.”
Plenty of legitimate audits have already applied that scrutiny: the state bureau of elections reported in April
that there were 250 post-election audits conducted in Michigan
alone, and none found evidence of widespread voter fraud. An audit of a New Hampshire
city election that Trump hoped would bolster his claims instead turned up nothing suspicious.
“There has never been an election in American history
that was more auditable and verifiable, as well as [more] audited, verified, and scrutinized, than the 2020 election,” David Becker, the director of the Center for Election Innovation
, said during a recent press conference.
However, the poll shows that Democrats and election officials haven't always succeeded in convincing the general public that the Arizona audit isn't a legitimate election review. Registered voters are evenly divided, with 45% strongly or somewhat in favor and 41% strongly or somewhat opposed. Nearly a third of all registered voters believe it will definitely or probably generate i
It is not a possibility, regardless of what the “audit” uncovers or claims to uncover, but the poll indicates that the lies are having a significant impact on voters’ faith in elections across the board, suggesting that the Arizona “audit” may be having the desired effect.
Sen. Josh Hawley
(R-Mo. ), the first senator to announce his opposition to the election results on Jan. 6, laughed when Stardia asked if he would attend a second Trump inauguration this summer. He has avoided using the word "rigged" while repeatedly stating that people have legitimate concerns about "election integrity."
“I don’t think any reasonable person believes there wasn’t fraud prior to the testimony about fraud,” he said, adding, “the question is, how widespread is it, and what are the consequences of it.”
According to The Washington Post
, only 16 people were charged with attempting to vote illegally in last year's election, amounting to less than one case for every 10 million votes
cast in the presidential election, and at least some of them voted illegally for Trump.
Lies about election fraud
, and widespread belief among Republican voters that it occurred, have already been used to justify GOP efforts to implement a wave of new voting
restrictions across the states
, and have led to sharp increases in the number of death
threats and other violent threats aimed at election officials nationwide.
is dangerous,” Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs
(D) told Stardia last week, “and the rhetoric is ramping up just like it did after the November election.”