A recent poll published in The Washington Post on Wednesday found a startling statistic. Conducted by academic authors Ariel Malka and Yphtach Lelkes, the survey found that 52 percent of Republicans would support postponing the 2020 election if Trump proposed the idea.
The survey took place between June 5 and 20, and sampled the opinions of 1,325 Americans weighted to accurately match the U.S. population in terms of sex, race, and gender identity. Out of the 750 poll participants who identified as politically Conservative, slightly over half of Republicans would be OK with postponing the election if the current administration deemed it necessary.
The context for this scenario was linked to Trump's displeasure over Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote and his claim that millions of non-citizens voted illegally. While the numbers clearly state otherwise, Trump was not alone in his belief. In July, Kansas' Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach told NBC News, "I think the president-elect is absolutely correct when he says the number of illegal votes cast exceeds the popular vote margin between him and Hillary Clinton."
While fact checkers have consistently disproved Trump's claim that 3.5 million people voted illegally in the 2016 election, the recent poll from The Washington Post revealed that as many as 68 percent of Republicans believe there were millions of illegal voters during the election, and 73 percent believe voter fraud happens "somewhat or very often."
The voter fraud panic is itself voter suppression. Canceling actual elections was always down the slippery slope. https://t.co/ea318GdTDR— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) August 10, 2017
Given these findings, it's less surprising that 52 percent of Republican pollsters supported a postponement of the 2020 election when presented with the question:
While as many as 52 percent of Republican pollsters supported a potential postponement if Trump called for it, 56 percent of Republicans would postpone the 2020 election if the measure was supported by members of Congress.
The prompt read, "What if both Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress were to say that the 2020 presidential election should be postponed until the country can make sure that only eligible American citizens can vote? Would you support or oppose postponing the election?"
While these poll findings are purely analytical at this point, they raise many concerns about the state of Americans democracy, and how quickly U.S. citizens are willing to forfeit the sanctity of a federal election because of a widely disproved conspiracy theory.