Last week, former President Donald Trump said that his supporters wouldn’t take part in the 2022 midterm elections unless more “audits” of his 2020 loss to President Joe Biden were conducted — and new polling suggests that in one of the nation’s “reddest” districts, Trump’s prediction may come true.
Polling from Georgia’s 14th congressional district — which is currently held by GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and has been ranked one of the most Republican-leaning places in the country — finds that a small but significant number of Republican voters lack trust in the state’s elections.
The polling found that 4 percent of GOP-aligned voters in that district don’t believe elections are secure in the state, and thus they would not vote in future races. Another 6 percent of Republican voters said they felt unsure their votes would be counted.
That means that around 1 in 10 Republican voters in Greene’s home district have doubts about the integrity of future electoral contests — which could translate to them not voting at all, if Trump’s words from last week are to be believed.
As The New York Times pointed out in its reporting on the polling figures from Greene’s district, the possibility that 10 percent of Republican voters would sit out any election — even in a district as solidly “red” as Greene’s — was disconcerting to GOP strategists. While that figure may not be enough to result in Greene losing her own reelection, if that number translates to other districts across the country, it could spell doom for Republicans, who are hoping to win back control of both houses of Congress in 2022.
The polling is worrisome to party insiders, who, according to the Times, “believe Mr. Trump’s threat about his supporters staying home en masse is real.”
Since this past spring, many GOP strategists have been concerned that Trump loyalists will be unmotivated to vote due to their errant belief that U.S. electoral systems are fraudulent and rigged (at least in the way they think it is).
“This could cost the Republicans the majority in the House in 2022,” opined GOP pollster Frank Luntz on a podcast in May. “What Donald Trump is saying is actually telling people it’s not worth it to vote. Donald Trump single-handedly may cause people not to vote.”
Trump made the comments regarding next year’s races on his fundraising website on Wednesday, around the same time that a judge in Georgia dismissed a lawsuit from his loyalists about the outcome of the 2020 presidential election in the state. The former president’s allies had alleged “pristine” votes — ballots where circles were supposedly filled in perfectly — justified a new investigation of the election. But such ballots don’t actually exist, the judge noted.
Trump has still refused to accept the results of the 2020 presidential race. On Wednesday, he warned that unless more unnecessary audits took place, his supporters wouldn’t help Republicans win congressional contests next year.
“If we don’t solve the Presidential Election Fraud of 2020 (which we have thoroughly and conclusively documented), Republicans will not be voting in ‘22 or ‘24,” Trump said on his website. Despite Trump’s deceitful claims, no evidence of widespread fraud affecting the outcome of the presidential race has ever been found.
It’s difficult to decipher which party currently has the better odds in the 2022 midterms. Historically, the party of the incumbent president tends to fare poorly in the first midterm contest of their new administration. However, recent polling seems to suggest the public would largely prefer that Democrats retain control of the House of Representatives.
Of course, gerrymandered districts and another year of politics could change things completely. But if the sentiments of GOP voters in Greene’s district indicate the mindset of GOP voters across the country, Republicans may face an uphill battle to win control of the House.