Study Shows Election Denial Cost Republicans in Midterms

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A new study from States United Action, a nonpartisan group promoting fair elections, suggests that Republican candidates who denied the results of the 2020 election or cast doubts on the voting system lost 2.3 to 3.7 percentage points in the 2022 midterms. These losses proved consequential, as even the lowest end of the spectrum would have been sufficient to sway critical midterm races that Republicans lost, including the governor and attorney general contests in Arizona and the Senate elections in Nevada and Georgia. Despite the losses, former President Donald J. Trump continues to promote election denialism, and several candidates who were a core part of the movement have signaled an intent to run again in 2024.

The study compared the performance of election-denying candidates in 2022 with Republicans who did not espouse similar views, and then compared the 2022 performance to that of 2018. The group arrived at the 2.3 to 3.7 percentage-point “penalty” number, showing that lying about elections is not just bad for democracy, but bad politics as well.

Several candidates who lost in 2022, including Jim Marchant in Nevada, Kari Lake, and Doug Mastriano, are reportedly considering bids for Senate in 2024. The issue of election denialism is likely to linger in Republican politics as long as Mr. Trump continues to demand fealty to such beliefs and hold sway over Republican primaries.

The study suggests that the gap between what the Republican base wants and what swing voters will tolerate has grown very long, which could hamper Republicans as they look to take back the Senate in 2024. Most battleground states are not holding contests for governor and secretary of state until 2026, but several marquee Senate races next year will determine control of the chamber. The issue of election denialism is likely to be significant in these races since voters understand that those elected officials are the ones who oversee voting and are in charge of their freedom to vote.

In conclusion, election denialism could prove costly for Republicans in the 2024 midterms. Despite their losses in 2022, several candidates who denied the results of the 2020 election or cast doubts on the voting system are considering bids for Senate. The issue is likely to linger in Republican politics, as long as Mr. Trump continues to demand fealty to such beliefs and hold sway over Republican primaries. The study suggests that the gap between what the Republican base wants and what swing voters will tolerate has grown very long, which could hamper Republicans as they look to take back the Senate in 2024.