Reaction to the Post-Election Environment

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Welcome to NAVIGATOR – a project designed to better understand the American public’s views on issues of the day and help advocates, elected officials, and other interested parties understand the language, imagery, and messaging needed to make and win key policy arguments.

This release features findings from a national online survey of 1,003 registered voters conducted December 10-14, 2020. 102 additional interviews were conducted among Hispanic voters and 105 additional interviews were conducted among African American voters.

Key takeaways

  • The public increasingly feels Trump should concede.
  • Ratings of Trump’s job handling remain deeply underwater while Biden’s approval rating in handling the presidential transition is net positive by nearly 20 points.
  • A near-majority of Americans say Republicans have been too slow to accept Biden’s win.

Calls for Trump’s Concession Continue to Grow

Since November 12, there has been an 11-point net increase in the share who say Trump should concede, including a 10-point net increase among independents and a 12-point net increase among Republicans.

  • On a separate question, 80% of Americans think Biden will be inaugurated in January.

Trump’s Job Approval Remains Underwater as Americans Give Biden High Marks for His Handling of the Transition

While Trump’s handling of his job as president is 12 points in the negative, Biden’s approval ratings on his handling of the transition are at net +19.

  • Since November 12, Trump’s net approval has declined 5 points (from -7 to -12).

As Americans Continue to Hear Negatives on Trump and the Election, Biden Positives Show the Start of a New Era

While 90% of Americans say they have heard at least “a little” about Trump in the last few days, 83% say the same of Biden. Top positives on Biden revolve around his Cabinet picks and his plan to combat the pandemic.

  • Since September 14th, there has been an 11-point decline in the share who say they’re hearing “a lot” about Trump (from 53% to 42%).

A Majority Say Trump’s Claims About Voter Fraud Are Not Justified

On a follow-up question, one in ten say Trump’s claims about voter fraud are justified, but that these claims make them less likely to vote for fear all elections “are rigged”; 18% of Republicans say the same.

Most Americans Remain Confident in 2020 Election, With Declines in Confidence Driven By Republicans

Since November 12, levels of confidence in both the counting of the results of the election overall and their own ballot specifically have remained high among Democrats and independents.

  • However, confidence in the election overall has declined by 20 points among Republicans (from 46% to 26%).

Plurality of Republicans Say Election Results Decrease Confidence in Electoral College System

Two in five Americans say the 2020 election “makes no difference” in their confidence in the Electoral College, while three in ten say it decreases their confidence in the Electoral College.

  • Among Republicans, 39% say it decreases their confidence, while 21% of Democrats say the same.

Half Say Deciding the Presidential Election By Popular Vote Would Make Our Government Work Better

A near-majority of Americans say amending the Constitution so the candidate who wins the popular vote wins the presidential election would have a positive impact on making our government work better for the people.

Only One in Three Say Republicans Have Acted Appropriately in Their Response to the November Election

More than four in five independents (45%) say Republicans have been too slow to accept Biden’s victory, and nearly one in five (19%) Republicans say the same.

Top Reasons Republicans Have Been Unwilling to Recognize Biden’s Win: Disbelief, Fear of Retribution, Appeasing the Base

Among independents, Republican opposition to basic concepts of democracy is seen as the top reason for not recognizing Biden’s win; for Move-Past Trump Republicans it is because Republicans want to appease their base.

Exhaustion and Anger Are the Top Emotions for Both Parties, Though Democratic Excitement Is on the Rise

Since January, Democrats have grown 8-points more “engaged and interested in taking action” and 18-points more “excited” about politics, while Republicans have grown 32-points more “exhausted” and 29-points more “angry.”