Politics

Donald Trump Claiming the Election Is Rigged Could Backfire

October 25th 2016

By:
Tricia Tongco

Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump has suggested there will be voting fraud at the ballot boxes and questioned the legitimacy of the election, but since he began slip in the polls in early October, he's made outright accusations against Hillary Clinton and "the media" of colluding to create a "rigged" election.

Trump's talking point of a rigged election and polls feeds into his depiction of Clinton as "Crooked Hillary," a lying politician. But convincing his supporters their vote essentially won't count is not the best strategy.

MSNBC's Jacob Soboroff visited rural Pennsylvania to speak with locals, including one Trump supporter who said, "I'm not going to vote because I think the people are going to get Trump in but it's not going to go that way," adding it "definitely" will be a rigged election.

This man isn't alone – according to a recent PRRI survey, fewer than half (43 percent) of Americans believe their vote will be counted accurately. On Trump’s specific claim of a “rigged” election, "74 percent of Republicans, and 84 percent of Trump supporters, say it’s a legitimate issue," according to an ABC News poll released on Sunday. In contrast, 91 percent of Democrats believe he is attempting to make excuses in case he loses, rather than bringing up a valid concern. 

While voter fraud is virtually non-existent, Trump seems to have convinced the majority of his audience that vote-rigging is real, which could actually damage Trump's campaign. Per an article by Pippa Norris in the Washington Post, people who believe the vote is rigged as less likely to turnout. Norris, who is the author of the author of Why Electoral Integrity Matters,” quotes a 2012 report from the American National Elections Study, which found that respondents who believed votes are "very often" counted fairly were 13 percent more likely to vote than those who don't. So, while Trump's rhetoric may stir up his supporters, research suggests it may also keep them home on Nov. 8. 

Watch the full MSNBC segment below.