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Poll shows Republicans widely believe election losers shouldn't concede

The GOP's openly anti-democratic wing is growing. A Yahoo News/YouGov poll shows that fewer than half of Republicans want election losers to say they lost.


In a new poll conducted by Yahoo News and YouGov, fewer than half of Republicans said political candidates who receive fewer votes than their opponent should concede the race. 

It’s the latest evidence showing that Donald Trump’s refusal to accept his 2020 election loss to Joe Biden has enlivened a fascist strain within the GOP.

According to the poll, only 43% of Republicans said candidates who lose an election should concede. Among independents — which could include many conservatives and others who are, shall we say, less politically astute — that number creeps up to 57%. 

Still fairly troubling — but at least it’s a majority. 

Among Democrats, 74% of respondents said election candidates who lose should concede. (The poll’s margin of error was approximately 2.7 percentage points.)

This spread of anti-democratic sentiment within the conservative movement is precisely what the Sweden-based International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance warned about when it classified the United States as a “backsliding” democracy last year. Citing the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and Trump’s refusal to concede he lost in 2020, the organization said that “the United States, the bastion of global democracy, fell victim to authoritarian tendencies itself, and was knocked down a significant number of steps on the democratic scale.”

Later in the report, the organization said: “Baseless allegations of electoral fraud and related disinformation undermined fundamental trust in the electoral process, which culminated in the storming of the U.S. Capitol building in January 2021."

Trump, of course, has had help in spreading these anti-democratic lies. Nearly 150 Republicans voted to overturn the 2020 presidential election results on Jan. 6, effectively siding with the deadly mob that stormed the Capitol intent on keeping Trump in office. And several election-denying GOP candidates have won their primary races this year. 

For example, the Republican nominee for Arizona secretary of state, Mark Finchem, is a member of the Oath Keepers militia and appeared outside the Capitol on Jan. 6. Tweeting that day, he wrote that the siege is what “happens when the People feel they have been ignored, and Congress refuses to acknowledge rampant fraud.”

Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano is another election-denying Republican involved with Jan. 6 who’s running for office. And he has made clear that he feels his would-be administration could legally meddle with an election in nefarious ways.

“I could decertify every [voting] machine in the state with the stroke of a pen, via my secretary of state,” Mastriano said in an interview in March. 

The poll by Yahoo News and YouGov simply confirmed what we’ve seen with our own eyes for years now. The conservative movement largely believes elections should give way to coronations, where votes are just formalities and their chosen pick takes the crown.