CNN Poll: Most Americans Don’t Expect Trump to Admit Defeat if He Loses Election

A majority of 78% of Americans believe President Joe Biden will accept the results and concede defeat if he loses the November election.

But about 7 in 10 Americans (71%) doubt Trump will concede if he loses again in November, while just 28% believe he will. Half of Republicans now say they think Trump would concede a loss, up from 41% in a January poll conducted during primary season. Among the public as a whole, doubts that Trump would concede are little changed from January but remain higher than in October 2020, when a smaller 58% majority of U.S. adults said they did not expect him to concede if he lost the 2020 election.

In CNN’s presidential debate in June, Trump refused to unequivocally state that he would accept this year’s election results, dodging the question twice before saying he would do so “if it’s a fair, legal, good election” and repeating claims of voter fraud. There is no evidence of voter fraud that would have affected the outcome of the 2020 election.

Most Americans (84%) say the loser of the race has a duty to concede once every state has officially certified its vote for president. That number is relatively unchanged since January and since Trump and Biden faced off in October 2020.

Among registered voters who say they would support it Biden In a head-to-head matchup against Trump, 95% believe the loser has an obligation to concede. This figure is lower, at 77%, for those who would vote for Trump.

Among current Biden supporters, there is near universal agreement that Biden would concede defeat if he lost the election (97%) and that Trump would not (94%).

Current Trump supporters are also largely unanimous about Biden, with 62% saying they think he will concede if he loses the election. They are about evenly split on Trump, with 50% saying Trump would concede and 49% saying he would not.

Trump supporters who say candidates have a duty to concede generally think both Trump and Biden would do so (55% say Trump would, 68% say Biden would). In contrast, Trump supporters who say there is no such duty think it is unlikely that either presidential candidate will concede.

The poll also found that despite the widespread belief that the loser of a presidential election should concede defeat, only about half of registered voters think Trump’s refusal to concede defeat in 2020 is a reason to oppose his candidacy in 2024.

Forty-nine percent of registered voters say Trump’s claims that he won the 2020 election are a reason they will vote against him in 2024, while 17% say they are a reason they will vote for him. A third of registered voters (33%) say his claims make no difference either way.

More than half (55%) of current Trump supporters are indifferent to his claims about the 2020 election, and about a third (34%) say they are a reason to vote for him in 2024. Only 11% of current Trump supporters say his claims about the election are a reason to vote against him. In contrast, current Biden supporters reach a 92% consensus that Trump’s claims are a reason to vote against him.

Nearly half (46%) of Trump’s most loyal supporters — those who say they’re backing him out of positive support, rather than opposition to Biden — say they view Trump’s claims about the 2020 election as positive. In contrast, just 10% of Trump supporters who say they would support him primarily as a vote against Biden view Trump’s election claims as a reason to vote for him, with 28% calling them negative and 62% saying they make no difference either way.

In addition to partisanship, the results also show a stark divide in education: college-educated people are 28 percentage points more likely to say Trump’s claims about the 2020 election are a reason they will vote against him this year than those without a college degree.

The CNN poll was conducted by SSRS June 28-30 among a random national sample of 1,274 adults drawn from a probability-based panel including 1,045 registered voters. Surveys were conducted online or by telephone with a live interviewer. Results from the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. Results from registered voters have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.7 points.

While most Americans believe the loser of the election has a duty to concede, there is a significant gap in perceptions of President Trump’s likely response. Some 71% of Americans doubt that Trump would concede if he lost the election again, reflecting a politics still influenced by past elections and claims of voter fraud.

In light of the poll results, the role of politics in shaping public opinion about electoral concessions becomes clear. The belief that the loser must concede is widespread, but the expectation of compliance from certain candidates, such as Trump, remains a contentious issue in US politics.

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