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Axios-SurveyMonkey poll: Election fight leaves lasting damage

Data: Axios/SurveyMonkey survey; Chart: Axios Visuals

Nearly 3 in 4 Democrats say the organized effort in Congress to block certification of Joe Biden's Electoral College win is a threat to America's democracy, while 6 in 10 Republicans say it's a defense of it, according to a new SurveyMonkey poll for Axios.

The big picture: The poll shows how badly Biden has been damaged by two months of baseless allegations of election fraud. Just 58% of Americans accept his win as legitimate, while more than one in four doesn't — and most of those skeptics say they won't buy it even if Congress certifies the results today, as expected.

Why it matters: These findings underscore both the dangers of and the political pressures behind plans by rebel GOP senators and President Trump's loyalists in the House to thwart Biden's certification.

  • Were they successful, the effort would overturn the will of the American voters and upend democracy. It is expected to fail, but not without eroding democratic norms and complicating Biden's appeal to unity.

By the numbers: 27% of the survey's respondents don't accept Biden's win, and 11% aren't sure.

  • Even if Congress certifies the results, 77% of those who don't accept his win say they won't change their minds. Half of those who are unsure said they'd still be unsure.

Be smart: There's a massive partisan split, with 96% of Democrats and 57% of independents saying they accept Biden's win — and 62% of Republicans saying they don't.

Between the lines: Republicans seem to be more supportive of the congressional effort to object to Biden than of Trump's own behavior.

  • 50% of Republicans said Trump's argument that he is the legitimate winner and his refusal to concede represent a defense of democracy.
  • 79% of Democrats, 35% of independents and 10% of Republicans say it's the opposite, a threat to American democracy.

Methodology: This SurveyMonkey online poll was conducted Jan. 4–5, 2021, among a national sample of 2,516 U.S. adults.

  • Respondents for this survey were selected from the more than 2 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day.
  • The modeled error estimate for this survey is ±3.0 percentage points for the national sample. Data have been weighted for age, race, sex, education and geography using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States age 18 and over.

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