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May 20, 2022
Most Republicans Think Pence Had No Right To Overturn Trump’s Election Loss, Poll Finds

Most Republicans Think Pence Had No Right To Overturn Trump’s Election Loss, Poll Finds

Former President Donald Trump is fixated on the notion that his vice president could have somehow overturned the results of the 2020 presidential election, but a new Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday suggests most Republican voters don’t agree with Trump’s view, and many appear ready to move past the issue entirely.

Then President Donald Trump speaks to the press during a news conference in the James Brady Press … [+] Briefing Room of the White House on September 16, 2020, in Washington, D.C.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Key Facts

The poll found that 52% of Republicans back former Vice President Mike Pence’s stance that he had “no right to overturn the election” when Congress certified the results in early 2021, while only 36% took Trump’s side and said that Pence did have that right.

Democrats and independents overwhelmingly took Pence’s side, with 72% of all survey participants backing Pence on the issue.

Hardly any Republicans said election reform is the top issue facing the country today, even though GOP-controlled state legislatures across the country made passing new election laws a top priority last year, in response to Trump’s spurious claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 election.

Only 3% of Republican respondents said election laws are the top issue, well below the 36% who said inflation is their largest priority and the 23% who said immigration.

Democrats have railed against new GOP-imposed voting restrictions, and their voters consider election laws one of the most pressing issues facing the country: 16% of Democratic respondents identified it as their top issue, second only to climate change at 17%.

Crucial Quote
“Under the Constitution, I had no right to change the outcome of our election,” Pence said at a Federalist Society event February 4. “And Kamala Harris will have no right to overturn the election when we beat them in 2024.”

Surprising Fact
Republicans are favored to take back both the House and Senate in the upcoming midterm elections, with the Quinnipiac poll suggesting independents are leaning toward the GOP. The poll found 45% of Americans want Republicans to control the House and Senate, compared to 43% who picked Democrats. The GOP holds a six-percentage-point advantage among independents for House races and a five-point lead for Senate races, according to the poll.

Key Background
If Trump’s news releases and comments at recent rallies are any indication, the 2020 election and anger at Pence for not helping overturn the results are the front-and-center issues for him. Trump still regularly sends out barrages of attacks against Republican officials who question his claims, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). He’s also devoting himself to unseating Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R), who, like Pence, declined to intervene when Trump asked him to overturn the 2020 election results in his state. But Kemp maintains strong approval ratings among Republicans even after Trump’s attacks, and most polls show he holds a lead over Trump’s chosen challenger, former Sen. David Perdue (R). 

What To Watch For
There’s an ongoing effort in Congress to reform the 19th-century Electoral Count Act, a vaguely written law that sets procedures for Congress to certify Electoral College votes. Proponents of changing the law want to rework the wording to make it clear that Congress cannot subvert the presidential election results from a state. Centrist senators like Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) say they’re confident there’s enough support for reform to pass.

Further Reading
Republican Governors Break With Trump—Throwing Support Behind Kemp In Georgia (Forbes)

Manchin and Murkowski signal optimism on Electoral Count Act reform (CNN)

Trump-Chosen Perdue Enters Georgia Race—And The War Of Words Begins (Forbes)

Pence Says He ‘Had No Right To Overturn The Election’—And Trump Is ‘Wrong’ To Claim He Did (Forbes)

Read More

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