NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — A majority of Virginia voters believe the 2020 presidential election was valid, but 61% of Republicans believe President Joe Biden did not win legitimately, a poll from Christopher Newport University’s Wason Center for Civic Leadership found.
This comes after months of messaging both before and after the election from former President Donald Trump and Republicans to cast doubt about the electoral process. Republican and Democratic election officials, as well Trump’s own Justice Department, found there was no widespread election fraud that would have swung the election.
Many Republicans, including Rep. Rob Wittman (1st District) in Virginia, however, continued to push those false claims, which ultimately culminated in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Some Republicans, including GOP No. 2 in the House, Rep. Steve Scalise, are still suggesting the election was “stolen.”
CNU says the issue is a new “Lost Cause.” The original Lost Cause of the Confederacy sought to justify the Confederate as just and heroic, and tried to minimize slavery as the main reason behind the Civil War.
“A solid majority of Republican voters’ refusal to accept the legitimacy of Biden’s election is bound to
stir up the contest for the Republican nomination for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general,” said Dr. Quentin Kidd, the academic director for the Wason Center.
The survey shows 68% of Virginia voters overall say Biden’s election was legitimate, while 26% say it was not. The results are based on interviews of 1,005 Virginia residents, between January 31 and and February 14.
When comparing Trump to past presidents, 54% of Virginia voters said that Trump is worse than most, 10% say he was not as good as most, 18% say he was better than most, and 15% said he was one of the best.
93% of Democrats say Trump was definitely worse than most presidents and 78% of Republicans say he was better than most (41%) or one of the very best (37%).
56% of voters say Biden will be a successful president, while 69% of Republicans say he will be unsuccessful, compared to 2% of Democrats and 33% of independents. 91% of African-American voters say Biden will be successful.
The survey also asked if voters believe Biden will go too far, strike the right balance, or not go far enough on several issues. A plurality said Biden will strike the right balance on: COVID-19 pandemic (64%), racial inequality (53%), economic recession (46%), climate change (46%), health care (45%), and immigration (44%).
More than twice as many voters blame the federal government (46%) than the state government (20%) for the slow rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations, looking back at the Trump administration.
Biden so far has received high marks on his handling of the pandemic (67% approve to 25% disapprove).
There is one bit of bipartisan optimism: 67% of Virginia voters say 2021 will be better than 2020.