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Republican candidates in competitive House and Senate races who align themselves with former president Donald Trump's false claims that he won the 2020 election could face "considerable voter backlash" on Election Day, according to a new poll from WPA Intelligence.
Of respondents who said they are undecided on the generic congressional ballot, 51 percent said they would be less likely to support a candidate who believes the 2020 election was stolen from Trump. Just 12 percent said they’d be more likely to support a candidate who holds such beliefs.
Fifty-percent of all voters said they’d be less likely to support a candidate who espouses Trump’s false 2020 claims, while 26 percent said they’d be more likely to support such a candidate.
Among independents, that number rises to 65 percent who say they'd be less likely and drops to 18 percent who would be more likely to support such a candidate.
And among voters who are undecided on a hypothetical 2024 matchup between Trump and President Biden, 64 percent said they’d be less likely to support such a candidate, while just 5 percent said they’d be more likely to.
The WPA Intelligence memo, obtained by National Review, notes the results are “consistent with the findings of our 2022 post-mortem and other recent academic analyses that found voters penalized Republicans who claimed the 2020 election was stolen.”
“If the 2024 election hinges on the belief of a stolen 2020 election, Republican candidates in closely contested races who align themselves with these claims will face considerable voter backlash,” the memo says.
Meanwhile, down-ballot Republican candidates could also face repercussions if Trump is convicted in any of the four criminal cases he faces.
Six percent of Republicans who plan to support down-ballot Republican candidates say they would sit out the 2024 election if Trump is convicted of a felony, according to the poll. Without a Trump conviction, but in the event that Trump and Biden are the nominees, just 2 percent of those voters say they would sit out the election.
Among voters who plan to support down-ballot Democrats, 3 percent say they would sit out the election if Trump and Biden are the nominees, while 2 percent said the same if Trump is convicted.
That suggests Biden's lead over Trump could grow two to six points if the former president is convicted.
Trump is facing four federal charges in connection with his alleged attempts to overturn the 2020 election. The former president is also facing 42 felony counts as a result of special counsel Jack Smith's separate investigation into Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified documents. He is also facing 13 felony charges in connection with an election-interference case in Fulton County, Ga. Before that, Trump was indicted in Manhattan on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in connection with a hush-money payment to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels.
The WPA poll found Biden beating Trump 43 percent to 41 percent with 11 percent of voters saying they were undecided and another 5 percent saying they likely would not vote in the 2024 election.
The poll finds Biden winning the independent vote, 40 percent to 34 percent.
While Trump's legal woes have so far seemed to rally his base, a Trump conviction would cause a 5-point drop in support among Republicans for Trump. A hypothetical conviction would also widen Biden's lead among independents from 6 points to 14 points.
If Trump is convicted of a felony, Biden's lead over Trump would grow to 6 points, mostly due to Trump's loss in support among some Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. In this scenario, Biden gains supporting among Hispanic voters and independents.
A Trump-Biden rematch would “reignite” enthusiasm for Biden among Democrats, the poll found.
When Democrats were asked to rate their level of enthusiasm for supporting Biden on a scale of 1 to 10, just 24 percent of voters indicated they were at a level “10,” or “very enthusiastic” and voting for the president.
However, when asked about their level of enthusiasm voting for Biden in a hypothetical rematch against Trump, the “very enthusiastic” levels of support rose from 24 percent to 55 percent.
"There have been three national elections since 2018 where Donald Trump's presence does a lot more to energize Democrats than Republican voters,” WPA Intelligence principal Amanda Iovino said in a statement to National Review. “As our poll shows, 2024 would be no exception if Trump were to become the Republican nominee. President Biden starts his re-election bid with barely a quarter of Democrats describing themselves as being ‘very excited’ to support him. That percentage more than doubles the moment that Trump is introduced as Biden's rival.”
“To make matters worse for the GOP, if Trump were to be convicted of a felony in any of his cases, the number of Republicans who say they plan to sit out the 2024 election altogether would triple, while Biden's lead among Independent voters would grow to 14 points,” she added. “This would cost the Republicans the House and jeopardize gains in the Senate.”
“Joe Biden is a weak incumbent, but if Republicans nominate Donald Trump, they will inadvertently enable his re-election and hand progressive Democrats full control of Washington," she warned.
The CEO of WPA Intelligence, Chris Wilson, serves as the head of polling and data for the pro-DeSantis Never Back Down PAC. The survey was not sponsored by the PAC, according to WPA Intelligence.
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