Donald Trump’s insistence that he won the election and that “massive fraud” has corrupted the results has played well so far among his base, according to polls released this week. Unfortunately for the president, it’s only playing well among his base. That’s not just the conclusion of hostile pollsters, either, but of Rasmussen, one of the friendliest pollsters for Trump in the business.
In their latest survey, six in ten respondents believe that Joe Biden won the election and that Trump should now concede. Even 37% of Republicans think the time has come:
Most voters now believe President Trump should admit that he lost the election, although they’re less certain their friends and neighbors would agree. They’re more closely divided, however, over whether the Democrats stole the election as Trump contends.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 61% of Likely U.S. Voters think Trump should concede the presidential election to Democrat Joe Biden. Just 33% disagree. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Eighty-four percent (84%) of Democrats, 37% of Republicans and 59% of voters not affiliated with either major party believe Trump should concede. Fifty-seven percent (57%) of Republicans disagree.
The only demo groups that offer even a plurality in opposition to a concession are Republicans (37/57), conservatives (38/55), those unsure of their income (45/47), high-school graduates (42/49) but not high-school non-graduates (52/43), and those who “strongly approve” of Trump’s performance (23/72). For those who “somewhat approve,” a double-digit plurality wants Trump to concede (46/35), which demonstrates just how fringy the defiance strategy has become.
That’s not to say that voters don’t have concerns over how the election was conducted. Thirty-six percent of voters think it’s “very likely” that “Democrats stole votes or destroyed pro-Trump ballots in several states” to get Biden the win, while 41% think it “not at all likely.” Overall that splits 47/50, suggesting that Trump’s PR campaign is having an impact. Republicans split 75/21 on the potential for a “steal,” while Democrats split 30/69 on it. Independents aren’t convinced, though, splitting 39/57.
Even if Trump’s winning on that message, though, he’s still losing the overall battle in Rasmussen’s survey. Not only do 61% of respondents think he should concede and only 33% think he shouldn’t, a 51/30 majority think Trump’s losing the argument with friends and neighbors, too.
That brings us to a pair of Morning Consult polls this week. Their sample seemed more tolerant of Trump’s challenges but less convinced he had a case:
Forty-six percent of registered voters surveyed said Trump should concede “right away,” while another 32 percent said he should concede if he is “unable to back up his claims of widespread fraud.” Just 12 percent said the president should not concede “no matter what,” and 9 percent didn’t know or had no opinion.
The results of the poll are sharply split along partisan lines, with 72 percent of Democrats saying Trump should concede right away compared to just 17 percent of Republicans. Nearly half (45 percent) of Republicans said Trump should only concede if he can’t back up his voter fraud claims, and a full quarter of registered GOP voters say Trump should not concede no matter what.
In a separate poll released yesterday, six in ten respondents approve of Biden’s transition efforts, and a majority thinks Trump’s not doing enough to help:
According to a new Morning Consult/Politico poll, 60 percent of voters said they approve of Biden’s handling of the transition, while 28 percent disapprove. Biden’s transition handling is backed by 91 percent of Democrats and 53 percent of independents, but opposed by 59 percent of GOP voters.
Overall, 41 percent of voters strongly approve of Biden’s transition handling, compared with 21 percent who strongly disapprove. The Nov. 13-16 survey of 1,992 registered voters has a margin of error of 2 percentage points. …
Fifty-four percent of voters said Trump is not doing enough to help Biden, including 77 percent of Democrats and 23 percent of Republicans, though a plurality of Republicans (37 percent) said the current president is “doing the right amount” to assist his successor. More than a quarter (28 percent) of GOP voters said they didn’t know or had no opinion — 10 points higher than the share of all voters who said the same.
The point here isn’t whether these views are correct. The issue for Trump and the White House is that it’s losing the argument, even among their supporters, as the Rasmussen breakdown demonstrates. That is in large part because the campaign (and Trump) keeps making wild claims about fraud that they either don’t advance in court or which judges throw out for lack of evidence. There is a price to pay for raising expectations and failing to deliver, and this election challenge is rapidly approaching the disillusionment phase — if it hasn’t already hit it.
And that’s an issue not just for Trump, but for other Republicans and the GOP. If a plurality of Trump’s supporters think he should concede, then at some point they will pay a price for enabling his intransigence. With a key runoff election approaching in Georgia, the risk of destroying Republican credibility carries immediate and potentially devastating consequences. At some point, the party will have to cut Trump loose unless his legal team starts improving its performance. If they’re waiting for a concession, they’ll be waiting far too long.