US: Over four in ten Americans would mostly distrust Trump if he claimed victory tonight
While most of the commentary and analysis of the polling for the past few weeks has focused on the horserace between Biden and Trump, the unique circumstances surrounding this election mean that the process might end up being just as important.
With so many votes being cast before election day, either by post or in-person, there could be delays in counting the results. This could lead to a candidate refusing to concede the election in the event it is clear they’ve lost, or even claiming victory when the final result is still in doubt.
Our latest poll shows the American public are now incredibly unwilling to give the candidate they aren’t voting for the benefit of the doubt. Just 9% of those who are planning to vote for Biden say they would at least mostly trust a Trump claim of victory, and just 16% of those voting for Trump would at least mostly trust one coming from the former Vice President.
However, there is overall a lot more concern about the way Trump might respond than his Democratic opponent. Just 31% say they either completely or mostly trust the Republican candidate, compared to 42% who would mostly or completely distrust him. This compares to 39% who would mostly or completely trust Biden, and just 28% who would mostly or completely distrust him.
Just a quarter of Americans (26%) say they are somewhat or very worried about Joe Biden losing but not conceding the election, compared to nearly twice that number (47%) who are worried about Trump doing the same.
Putting aside the way the candidates might respond tomorrow, this comes on top of a lot of suspicion about the democratic legitimacy of other aspects of this election. Nearly half of Americans (47%) are worried about Russian misinformation influencing the election outcome, while a similar number are worried about the impact of mail-in voting being used to commit fraud.
Our final poll shows Biden a clear 14 points ahead which, if replicated across the swing states, should lead to a decisive enough victory that it is difficult for the incumbent President to claim victory. But if this gap closes in the final days, or if the electoral college again doesn’t replicate the public vote, the coming week could be a very messy time for American politics.
But it could be made worse by how distrusting many are of the current President, how suspicious many are in the democratic processes, and how unwilling Americans are to give their opponents the benefit of the doubt.