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One In Four Americans Now Believe Biden's Election In 2020 Wasn't 'Legitimate': I&I/TIPP Poll

53% think Congress has turned a blind eye to the prosecution of many innocent bystanders of the Jan. 6, 2021 riots in D.C.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, via Wikimedia Commons
Congress has turned a blind eye to the prosecution of many innocent bystanders of the January 6, 2021 riots in D.C., while corporate media and its pollsters remain conspicuously silent on this matter. In this story, you'll find polling data that has never been revealed before. It's yet another reason to support our work by signing up for a paid subscription - Raghavan Mayur, Editor

It's a question that infuriates some, but remains on the minds of many: Was Joe Biden legitimately elected to the presidency in the hotly contested 2020 election? While most say he was, just over one in four U.S. voters believe the answer is no, according to the latest I&I/TIPP Poll.

The national online poll, taken January 3-5 from among 1,247 registered voters, asked: "To what extent do you agree or disagree with the statement: Joe Biden was legitimately elected president."

Of those polled, 65% said that they agreed either "strongly" (50%) or "somewhat" (15%) with that statement. But another 26% said they disagreed either "somewhat" (9%) or "strongly" (17%), while 9% said they were not sure. The poll has a +/-2.8 percentage point margin of error.

But, when it comes to political affiliation, the responses show some of the most skewed results yet in an I&I/TIPP Poll. It's fair to say that Democrats, Republicans and independents are far apart in their responses.

Among Democrats, 92% believe Biden was elected legitimately, with 80% agreeing "strongly" and 12% "somewhat." Just 4% disagreed.

For Republicans, the numbers told a different tale.

Just 36%, or roughly a third, felt Biden had won his office legitimately, with 20% agreeing "strongly" and 16% "somewhat." A majority of 52% thought his election was not legitimate, with 35% saying they agreed "strongly" and 17% "somewhat." Another 12% were not sure.

Independents were once again somewhere in the middle, with 63% agreeing that Biden won the election fair and square. But 23% disagreed, and 14% weren't sure.

All this amid growing evidence of election chicanery in a number of states in 2020, involving individuals, political parties, Big Tech and the government itself.

The results suggest next year's primaries and general election will be fraught with as much anger, recrimination and bitter debate as 2020's contentious election as 2024's.

Indeed, the disputed 2020 vote looms over the ensuing presidential election as few others have in our nation's history. That includes the immediate aftermath of the election, followed by the Jan. 6, 2021 demonstrations near the nation's Capitol that led to mass arrests across the nation.

As CNN recently noted, "Over 1,200 Americans have been charged criminally for their alleged actions during the riot, and more than 890 have been found guilty of federal crimes, according to the Justice Department. More than half of those found guilty have been sentenced to prison time."

This comes more than a year after the disbanding of Congress' Democrat-run Jan. 6 committee, which, in its harsh final report, pushed for stiff punishments for pro-Trump demonstrators, while also suggesting that former President Donald Trump be barred from running for public office again and referring him to the Justice Department for four criminal charges.

It should be noted that this has never before happened with a former president.

Since that report, the defunct select Committee has been widely criticized for its political bias (only two of the nine panel members were Republicans, and both were self-declared "never-Trumpers"). Congress, meanwhile, has largely ignored the mass prosecutions and lengthy incarcerations of those accused of taking part in the Jan. 6 protest.

Apparently, Americans haven't forgotten. As news of maltreatment and excessive prosecution leak out, people worry about the political precedent that has been set. And here's the surprise: The sentiment is bipartisan.

The I&I/TIPP Poll asked voters whether they agreed or disagreed with the following statement: "Generally speaking, Congress has turned a blind eye to the prosecution of many innocent bystanders of the Jan. 6, 2021 riots in D.C."

A majority of 53% agreed, with 29% agreeing "strongly" and 24% "somewhat." Just 26% disagreed, 14% of those "strongly" and 12% "somewhat."

Here's the interesting part: Slightly more Democrats than Republicans or independents agreed that Congress wasn't paying attention to those being wrongly charged for crimes related to Jan. 6.

Some 57% of Democrats agreed and just 26% disagreed, versus Republicans (54% agreed and 24% disagreed) and independents (48% agreed and 28% disagreed). It's rare bipartisan agreement among the three largest voting blocs.

In fact, among the 36 demographic groups tracked by I&I/TIPP, all agreed with the statement by either a solid majority or a large plurality.

While Americans initially supported stiff action against J6 demonstrators, their views seem to have changed considerably.

53% of Americans think Congress has turned a blind eye to the prosecution of many innocent bystanders of the Jan. 6, 2021 riots in D.C.

But Biden's views haven't altered. He used his "Valley Forge speech" on Jan. 6, 2024 to attack his likely 2024 presidential opponent for his actions on the same day three years ago.

"According to Joe Biden," wrote Roger Kimball for the pro-Trump American Greatness website, ' "January 6 is 'a day forever seared in our memory.' Why? 'Because that day, we nearly lost America.'  How’s that? Why, because that was the day Donald Trump showed he was willing to 'sacrifice democracy' by unleashing a 'violent mob' to storm the Capitol and undertake an 'insurrection.' "

But even William Barr, Trump's attorney general who later fell out with the former president, agrees that the Justice Department has prosecuted those attending the anti-Biden demonstrations (but who never committed acts of violence) "far too broadly."

But Biden's Justice Department and FBI are not backing down, as a C-Span clip on X shows .

In it, U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves emphasizes that "thousands of people" were demonstrating in areas not "authorized" by the government, and thus could face Justice Department prosecution, even if they never entered the Capitol building or committed any acts of violence.

For its part, the FBI has made clear that hunting down participants in the Jan. 6 demonstrations is a priority.

The administration's arguments, including those by Biden on Jan. 6, have come under intense criticism by legal scholars, serious journalists and historians. In particular, the idea that Trump led an "insurrection" that day has been harshly rejected as a serious, perhaps intentional, misreading of the Constitution's 14th amendment.

That's particularly true given Trump's own comments on Twitter from that day: “I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful,” he Tweeted that afternoon. “No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!”

Americans are responding, but perhaps not how the administration expected, as both I&I/TIPP and other polls show. A recent Suffolk University/USA Today poll, for instance, found that 43% of voters agreed the demonstrators "had a point."

“The survey, which was completed shortly before the third anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Trump, showed sympathy for the rioters has increased among the voting public over the past several years,” according to Suffolk's analysis.

“Only 48% of voters overall said they thought the rioters were ‘criminals,’ a significant drop from the 70% of voters who thought so in a Suffolk survey conducted just weeks after the attacks. Those who agreed that ‘they went too far, but they had a point’ rose to 37% from 24%, and 6% called their actions ‘appropriate,’ when in 2021 just 2% did,” Suffolk noted.

As I&I/TIPP's own data (discussed above) show, at least one in four Americans harbor doubts about the integrity of the 2020 presidential election. That gives them something in common with the J6 demonstrators. And even a majority of Democrats see the continued legal pursuit of many innocent bystanders at the demonstrations as prosecutorial overreach.

I&I/TIPP publishes timely, unique, and informative data each month on topics of public interest. TIPP’s reputation for polling excellence comes from being the most accurate pollster for the past five presidential elections.

Terry Jones is an editor of Issues & Insights. His four decades of journalism experience include serving as national issues editor, economics editor, and editorial page editor for Investor’s Business Daily.

The January issue of Newsmax magazine has the results of an exclusive Newsmax/TIPP poll on the topic of January 6.

A. Describing January 6, 2021

Protest, riot, civil disobedience, and domestic terrorism are the top words to describe January 6.
How you describe January 6 depends on your party affiliation.

B. Moving On

Republicans (61%) and conservatives (59%) want to move on; Democrats (71%) and liberals (70%) don't want to forget.

C. Concerns About Future Of America's Democracy

Overall, eight in ten are concerned about the future of America's democracy.

D. Violent Action Against Government Never Justified

47% of Democrats, 50% of Republicans, and 46% of independents say violent action against the government is never justified.

Our performance in 2020 for accuracy as rated by Washington Post:

Source: Washington Post

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