Bright Line Watch has released its latest report of its polling on the state of our democracy. You’ll remember that they conduct their polls several times a year enabling them to track changes in public attitudes, the views of experts, and conduct experiments concerning how information affects public perception.
They’ve released their report for their November 2021 polling, and it is confirms that our democracy is pretty much a zombie. Essentially, we’re dead people voting, we just don’t know it yet.
As we’ve seen in other recent posts that the necessary components of democracy have fallen and cast by the wayside by the Republican Party and their base, MAGA Nation. Bright Line Watch’s polling confirms that not much has changed since the 6 January Insurrection of last year. We’ve essentially doubled down on our positions about the legitimacy of our elections, the insurrection itself, the appropriateness of violence to further our favored political party, and our views of the otherside.
We’ve reified our political views. They haven’t softened. They haven’t changed. They are now baked into the body politic. As reported earlier, when you have polarization this deep and this wide, democracies rarely survive; they continue their descent into authoritarianism.
This is the first installment of a two part series. In this one, we’ll review their polling on confidence in the 2020 and 2022 elections. We’ll finish up by engaging in some armchair dilettante interpretation (our specialty). In the second installment, we’ll review the experiments that they did and squash even the small glimmers of hope that they thought they offered us.
Confidence in the Count
How confident is the average American in the counting of our votes? Do they believe the Big Lie? These questions address the basis for democracy. Will the losing side accept the results of an election? And, if they don’t, what will they do about it? We saw on 6 January 2021, they were willing to threaten to hang Mike Pence and assassinate Nancy Pelosi and terrorize Congress into submitting to their will.
Confidence in the outcome of elections, like so many other questions in the America, divides along party lines.
Was Biden the rightful winner of the 2020 election?
When considering the definitely or probably responses, they got these percentages:
- OVERALL 63% thought he was with 50+% thinking he definitely won. That seems pretty good, until you look at the breakdown by party.
- DEMOCRATS thought that he won by a whopping 95% with 85+% responding he definitely won.
- REPUBLICANS responded with 27% thinking he won and about 10% being definite.
The differential between the Repube respondents and the rest of the country is huge. This is important for interpreting later results about the justification of violence, so keep it in mind.
Comparing it to their June and February 2021 polls, you find the numbers have changed only slightly, with all groups being less certain that Biden is the rightful winner.
Confidence in votes being counted as voters intended
With all of the rhetoric about voter fraud being pumped non-stop out of Trump’s ass and regurgitated by his sycophants, it is an important question to ask, especially about the upcoming 2022 election. Apparently, Dems don’t believe that the voter nullification laws passed by GQP state legislatures are going to be effective, but boy the Repubes sure do!
- OVERALL 62% of the public is reasonably confident that the vote will be counted as voted with only 25% very confident.
- DEMOCRATS think that the vote will be fairly counted by 80% with just under 40% being very confident.
- REPUBLICANS responded with 42% thinking that the ’22 vote will be counted as intended with 10% being very confident.
At first glance, you might be surprised that the Repubes are so confident in the ’22 election, but when you compare it to their findings in October 2020 just before the November election, you find that 16% fewer Repubes have confidence in the ’22 elections than they did just prior to the ’20 elections. That is how effective conservative propaganda has been. We went from an eight point differential with Democrats to 38 points!
Democratic confidence grew by 14 points — no matter how foolish you think that confidence is — and Repube confidence fell by 16 points. So, while the overall number stayed largely the same (62% in ’22 and 59% in ’20), the partisan split widened drastically. Again, keep this in mind for when we discuss justifications for violence.
Legally entitled voters will be able to
Interestingly, confidence that all voters who are legally entitled to vote will be able to do so dropped by 10% from October 2020 to November 2021. Everyone thinks that voter suppression laws are going to be effective in the ’22 elections.
- OVERALL 64% of respondents were confident that all eligible voters would be able to vote with only 30% very confident.
- DEMOCRATS came in at 61% being confident that everyone would be able to vote with 25% having a high degree of confidence.
- REPUBLICANS registered at 71% confidence and 40% extremely confident.
When you think about voting rights and just being able to cast a ballot, those are not comforting percentages. As a country, we’re anticipating a struggle to get eligible registered voters to vote.
When you compare it to the perceptions in October 2020, though, you see that confidence has dropped considerably and again differentiated by party affiliation. Only 8% more Dems (61 versus 69%) thought that all eligible voters would be able to vote in the November 2020 elections, but Repubes thought they could a whopping 16 point (71 versus 87%) margin in 2020. Man, they are CONFIDENT in those voter suppression laws, aren’t they?
Accepting the ’22 Election Results
When we put the confidence in the vote questions together, we come up with some dismal prospects for the ’22 elections. With only 27% of the Repubes accepting Biden as a legitimate winner and 42% thinking that the votes will be fairly counted, how likely is it that Repubes are going to accept a Warnock senate victory or a Beto governor win? This strikes me as tantamount to disaster in the making.
The GQP state legislatures are going to declare that there was something fishy with those Dem precincts, so we’re just not counting those ones.
On the other hand, with 71% believing that every eligible voter was allowed to vote, if their candidates win, they will be arguing that the election was fair and square, so they should be seated. Any kvetching about long voting lines, purged voter rolls, reduced polling stations, and limited voting options will fall on deaf ears. They just aren’t going to care because all the right voters got to vote, right?
Primed for Violence
Should a Democratic candidate win a statewide office in a state that the Repubes control and be seated, then the Repube rank and vile is primed to believe that it was a corrupt election and use it as justification for violence. If only 27% of GQP rank and vile voters believe Biden is legitimate and insurrecting on 6 January was an appropriate response, how are they going to respond when Nikki Fried is elected governor of Florida?
If only 42% of Repubes believe the vote is going to be fairly counted in 2022, then any victory that deviates from their hyperinflated expectations of a red wave is going to be met with disbelief and outrage. After all, the only test of a free and fair election is whether the GQP candidate won.
Since there is strong evidence that MAGA Nation is reinforcing their delusional beliefs about the vulnerability of elections and the necessity of violence to correct it, then we should be expecting more violence in the 2022 election, not less.
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