Democratic impeachment managers continued to make their case in proving former President Donald Trump’s role in gathering and inciting a violent mob to storm the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Much of the evidence surround’s Trump’s months-long misinformation campaign against the integrity of the 2020 presidential election, with impeachment managers focusing heavily on Trump’s rhetoric at rallies and on Twitter baselessly denouncing the election as fraudulent and urging supporters to fight the results. New survey data shows just how powerful the former president’s lies have been in maintaining his supporters, and how education level plays a critical role in how many Republicans view the legitimacy of the election.
A new survey from the The Survey Center on American Life shows an astounding 31 percent of Americans still believe President Joe Biden’s election victory was not legitimate. Practically all are Republicans, with 65 percent saying claims of widespread election fraud are either mostly or completely accurate. Among Republicans, however, 50 percent of those with a college degree say the election was legitimate compared with just 23 percent of Republicans without a college education who say the same.
Overall, the survey also showed how 79 percent of Republicans still view the former president favorably, with the events of Jan. 6 seemingly having no major impact on his base of support. The rationale seems to be a deflection and misinterpretation for who was responsible for the U.S. Capitol attacks, with the survey showing 50 percent of Republicans say Antifa was mostly responsible for the violent riots. Another 58 percent say a group of unelected officials, commonly referred to as the “Deep State,” had been working to undermine the Trump administration.
Perhaps the most damning finding from the survey comes from the increase in people who believe violence is a justifiable response to fixing government. While the survey found bipartisan agreement that the current system of American democracy is failing to address crucial public concerns, 39 percent of Republicans and 31 percent of Independents say they support violent actions if elected leaders fail to act – with 17 percent of Democrats who say the same. Ultimately, only 13 percent of Republicans and 9 percent of total Americans say they completely agree that violent actions are necessary if political leaders fail to act.