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Two-Thirds in US Fear Violence Could Follow Election, Reuters/Ipsos Poll Finds

  • American citizens are concerned for their safety amid the November elections. 

According to the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll, two out of three Americans are deeply concerned that political violence might follow the November 5 election rematch between Democratic President Joe Biden and his Republican predecessor Donald Trump.

The survey was conducted on 3,934 U.S. adults who expressed their widespread worries that America might see a repeat of the unrest that followed Trump’s 2020 election defeat. Back then, former President Donald Trump falsely claimed that his loss was the direct result of fraud, which prompted thousands of his followers to storm into the U.S. Capitol.

Once again, Trump seems to be laying the groundwork to contest the results if he were to lose to Biden a second time. No less than 68% of respondents to the online poll, including 83% of Democrats and 65% of Republicans, declared they agreed with a statement that they were concerned that extremists might resort to violence if they are unhappy with the election outcome. Overall, 15% of respondents disagreed, and 16% were unsure.

In one of his recent interviews, Trump vehemently refused to commit to accepting negative election results, and at campaign rallies, he has repeatedly portrayed Democrats as cheaters. Outside the New York courtroom, which is where his criminal hush money trial takes place, fellow Republican officeholders have repeated the falsehood that the 2020 election was stolen from him.

The poll was conducted between May 7 and 14, and it found that Republicans harbor increasingly more distrust in the fairness of the U.S. elections than Democrats do. Only 47% said they were confident the results would actually be accurate and legitimate, compared with 87% of Democrats who expressed full confidence.

Photo by Johnny Silvercloud from Shutterstock

The survey also has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. Trump’s refusal to concede defeat to Biden in 2020 came at the end of a turbulent year marked by the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread racial justice protests.

Even if dozens of court cases vehemently rejected Trump’s claims of fraud, the president and his allies decided to launch a wide-ranging effort to prevent Congress from certifying some results, leading to the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

Around 140 police officers were injured, of whom one passed away the following day, and four later died by suicide. Over 1,400 people have been arrested for their own involvement in the attack, and over 500 of those have been sentenced to prison, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

They also include leaders of the extremist “Oath Keepers” and “Proud Boys” groups. Trump also characterized those behind bars as “hostages,”  stating he may pardon some of them if he decides to return to the White House.

Trump himself faces criminal charges in Washington and Georgia for working to overturn his defeat, even if those cases aren’t likely to go to trial before the election. He also pleaded not guilty in both cases and denied any wrongdoing.

According to a recent Reuters report, election workers, judges, and other public officials have faced a wave of threats and harassment since 2020. The poll is quite broadly in line with another survey conducted in October 2022, right before the midterm congressional elections, which discovered that 64% of Americans were deeply concerned about extremist violence.

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