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Americans sharply divided on election integrity, Trump’s conduct: Pew survey

November 20, 2020, 9:49 PM UTC

Nearly two weeks after former vice president Joe Biden was declared the winner of the bitterly contested 2020 presidential election, there are few signs that America’s sharp political divides are healing.

A new survey by Pew Research Center has found stark disagreements among the American public—and specifically between supporters of President-elect Biden and current President Donald Trump—”over nearly all aspects of the election and voting process, including whether their own votes were counted accurately,” according to Pew.

Of the nearly 12,000 U.S. adults surveyed by Pew, 59% said they believed the 2020 election in the U.S. was “run and administered well.” But along political lines, opinions differ greatly; only 21% of Trump supporters shared that view, compared to 94% of Biden supporters, with Pew noting that Trump voters who were already skeptical of the integrity of the electoral process “have become much more so since Biden’s victory.”

In fact, only 35% of Trump supporters said they were “very confident” that their own vote was counted accurately in this election, as opposed to 82% of Biden supporters. Those reservations come despite state and federal election officials describing the 2020 election as “the most secure in American history” earlier this month.

“Disagreements between supporters of the winning and losing candidates over the accuracy of the accuracy of presidential vote counts are not unusual, but the magnitude of the differences between Trump and Biden voters is striking,” according to Pew.

The survey also sheds light on public opinion of how both candidates have conducted themselves since the election—a time in which Trump has made vehement, baseless claims of voter fraud and stifled the transition of power to a Biden administration. 

A 57% majority of all voters said the Trump campaign should end its legal challenges to the voting and ballot-counting processes in battleground states, with 54% describing Trump’s conduct since the end of the election as “poor.” By contrast, 62% characterized Biden’s post-election conduct as “excellent” or “good,” while only half as many (31%) described Trump’s conduct in the same way.

Still, the survey shows that voter opinion of both men is delineated along sharply political lines. Pew found that 85% of Trump voters are supportive of his legal challenges to the election and believe they should continue, while 96% of Biden voters believe they should end.

Elsewhere, respondents also shed light on how political views correspond with public opinion about the coronavirus pandemic, and how the government should handle it as COVID-19 cases surge across the United States. A 66% majority of Biden voters said they are in favor of tighter restrictions on public activity in their communities, compared to only 16% of Trump voters. In fact, 44% of Trump voters said there should be fewer restrictions, with 40% believing that restrictions should remain the same as they are currently.

Yet Biden continues to draw more public confidence in his ability to handle the pandemic, an issue that may well have driven him to victory over Trump. The survey found “only modest changes” in how both candidates polled in this regard, with 58% of respondents “very or somewhat confident” in Biden’s ability to handle the public health impact of COVID-19, compared to only 39% who expressed confidence in Trump.

Meanwhile, respondents were overwhelmingly in favor of more public aid to help Americans households and businesses deal with the economic impact of the pandemic. A significant 80% majority said lawmakers should pass more coronavirus aid, with a strong 68% majority calling for Trump and current Congress to act “as soon as possible” and pass a new stimulus package now, rather than waiting until after the presidential inauguration in January. 

Congress continues to be deadlocked over additional coronavirus aid since passing the $2.2 trillion CARES Act in March, though House and Senate leadership are said to be in negotiations as pressure mounts for more relief.