In a vivid demonstration of our political divide, less than half of the country believes that President Donald Trump should immediately concede. Only a majority of Democrats (by a wide margin) holds that view. Once again, the poll shows the hardened silos of American politics. It also shows how the media has detached itself and its coverage from half of this country. As it did before the election, the media continues to coddle Biden in press conferences and frame the news in a familiar slant. Within 24 hours of the election being called for Biden, many in the media declared any challenges to the election to be “conspiracy theories” and demanded an immediate concession of defeat from Trump. While I have expressed great skepticism over many challenges and I have been critical of the failure of the Administration to “ascertain” the election for Biden for weeks, I have maintained that it is important for these challenges to be heard and resolved if we have any hope to unify this country. While the media and many Democrats were correct in calling for “every vote to be counted,” they have opposed efforts to recount those votes or address whether they have been counted correctly. Again, there is no evidence of systemic fraud or errors, but the overwhelming pressure in the media to stop the challenges after the calling of the election has only deepened the suspicion and divide in this country — as has the President’s own rhetoric on a stolen election. A recount in Georgia has found the type of human error that we have previously discussed and thousands of uncounted votes. Yet, that has not stopped the attacks on anyone, including lawyers, who are seeking such reviews.
The poll shows how the little penetration and credibility the media now has with much of the public. Over half of the public still want to see the challenges resolved despite the steady drumbeat of the media to denounce any challenges or the need for them to be fully addressed in the courts. Indeed, some academics are comparing questioning Biden’s victory to “holocaust denial” or going to court as itself a form of fraud or abuse.
The new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll shows that 46 percent of registered voters think Trump should concede to Biden “right away.” That includes 72 percent of Democrats, 43 percent of independents surveyed and 17 percent of Republicans.
The polls shows 32 percent of registered voters who believe that Trump should concede the election “eventually if he is unable to back up” his mass fraud claims. Notably, 21 percent of Democratic respondents and 34 percent of independent respondents are believe that Trump should not immediately concede but do so after the challenges are heard and resolved. Most worrisome for me is the 12 percent who believe that Trump should never concede. I expect the percentage for concession will (and should) increase as these challenges are heard and rejected. I have repeatedly stated that the Trump team is running out of time and runway to launch a serious claim of systemic problems in the election. (Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected the challenge based on observers. I stated two weeks ago that allegations of involving observers would not likely change any outcome on voting). The problem is that all of the hyperventilation over the challenges and effort to stop them has fueled the mistrust of many in the results. What voters see is an immediate campaign (after the election was called for Biden) to harass lawyers and law firms to get them to drop challenges. What they see is the same one-sided media coverage that either ignores alleged irregularities or dismisses any claims before they were actually filed in court.
Given the nine percent who have not reach a conclusion, the plurality still favors immediate concession, but that is still remarkably low given the unrelenting coverage and open hostility shown to the challenges from the outset. A majority either does not support an immediate concession or have not reached a conclusion on the need for such a concession.
If Biden was losing in these states and this campaign produced hundreds of affidavits of alleged irregularities, the media and the Democrats would be demanding that all challenges be heard and resolved in the interests of the democratic process. I would be advocating supporting those calls as I did in 2004 when Democrats raised objections to the voting in states like Ohio.
There was a time when most voters trusted the media and that trust allowed for greater trust in the outcome of the election. For four years, the media has dispensed with any sense of neutrality and openly supported the Biden campaign. Reporters are now invested in the various narratives put forward by the Biden camp and their coverage reflects that bias. The result is shown in this poll. The media is now playing to the same 30-40 percent of the voters. It is no surprise therefore that the media got polling wrong or that their predictions of a blue wave collapsed on election night. The Republicans not only came remarkably close to retaking the house (which now has the smallest margin since World War II), but appear likely to retain the Senate. They also made major gains in state races. Moreover, while winning the popular vote handily, Biden won key states by only a couple percent points, including races that took a week to call. The mainstream media was wrong because it remains as siloed and isolated as its viewers.
Obviously, this poll will be spinned like everything else in our politics. Politico’s headline declares “Poll: 46 Percent Say Trump Should Concede ‘Right Away.'” Yet, what was most striking to some of us was that a majority does not even after a couple weeks of challenges and negative court decisions. What the poll really shows is an unresolved divide and no real avenue to breach that divide. I expect that those favoring a concession will rise in the coming days absent some major new challenge. However, the unrelenting biased coverage will likely undermine the confidence of many voters. That will only work to the disadvantage of Biden and the country going forward. What concerns me is that we have missed the best opportunity to come together as a nation by supporting a full and open review of the election.
In the past, it has been the media that helped unite us. We could trust that reporters have actively pursued allegations of wrongdoing. If the media called an election, most people accepted that judgment. No longer. That trust is largely gone and so is the capacity for healing. That is the most chilling aspect of the Politico poll: a plurality wants an immediate concession, a majority does not . . . and one hundred percent remains divided on either what the truth is or how to find it.