Politics New Yahoo News/YouGov poll: Most Trump voters say they will not accept the 2020 results if Biden wins because of mail-in ballots by Andrew Romano West Coast Correspondent•Yahoo News/YouGov poll: Most Trump voters won’t accept Biden win if margin is determined by mail-in ballotsMost Americans now believe that President Trump will not accept the results of November’s election if he loses to Joe Biden, according to a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll — and an even larger majority of Trump voters say they too will refuse to accept a narrow loss if mail-in ballots contribute to Biden’s victory.In the midst of a pandemic that has seen many states expand their mail-in balloting systems to limit dangerous crowding on Election Day, the issue of postal voting took center stage Thursday when Trump escalated his months-long campaign to delegitimize the practice and possibly the election itself.“2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history,” the president tweeted, even though there is no evidence that mail-in voting would lead to widespread voter fraud and several states already conduct elections entirely by mail. “Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”
In the midst of a pandemic that has seen many states expand their mail-in balloting systems to limit dangerous crowding on Election Day, the issue of postal voting took center stage Thursday when Trump escalated his months-long campaign to delegitimize the practice and possibly the election itself.
“2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history,” the president tweeted, even though there is no evidence that mail-in voting would lead to widespread voter fraud and several states already conduct elections entirely by mail. “Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”
The results of the latest Yahoo News/YouGov survey suggest that Trump’s efforts to sow doubt about the validity of mail-in voting may be starting to have their desired effect. Asked whether Trump would “accept the result” if he “loses in a close election” this November, 52 percent of Americans say no. Only 25 percent say yes.
Voters who support Trump, meanwhile, share their candidate’s unfounded suspicions about postal balloting, with a full 55 percent saying they would not “accept the result” if Biden wins “because of an advantage in mail-in votes.” Only 21 percent say they would accept a Biden victory under those circumstances.
The survey, it’s worth noting, was conducted July 28 to 30, mostly before Trump’s tweet about delaying the election. If anything, these gaps will likely widen in the wake of his incendiary suggestion.
Among Biden voters, a mere 26 percent say they would not accept the results if the tables were turned and Trump won because of mail-in votes. Forty-seven percent say they would accept the results.
It’s unclear what “not accepting” the result of a U.S. presidential election would look like in practice. But at a minimum it could involve large numbers of Americans viewing Biden as an illegitimate president — with Trump’s encouragement. The previous Yahoo News/YouGov poll found that 54 percent of Trump voters said they are “very worried” about “fraudulent postal voting,” while 57 percent of Biden voters said they are “not worried” at all.
Trump’s preemptive push to invalidate a Biden win reflects a sobering reality for the president: If the election were held today, he would almost certainly lose. Biden leads Trump by 9 percentage points among registered voters, 49 percent to 40 percent; 94 percent of these voters say there is no chance they will change their mind. In the race for Congress, Democrats lead Republicans by 10 percentage points, 49 percent to 39 percent.
With coronavirus menacing nearly every corner of the country and protests raging in Portland, Ore., and elsewhere, more than three-quarters of Americans (77 percent) say things currently are out of control. This does not redound to Trump’s benefit: The number of Americans who say the incumbent president “is the source of the chaos” (46 percent) is 20 points higher than the number who say he “will protect us from the chaos” (26 percent).
The perception of Trump as a national leader who makes matters worse rather than better is pervasive — and no issue illustrates this more clearly than Portland.
The Yahoo News/YouGov poll shows signs of eroding support for the protests that have roiled the country since the May 25 killing of George Floyd. In early June, Americans were divided over whether the protesters should “stop protesting” (44 percent) or “keep protesting” (42 percent); today, 47 percent of Americans want them to stop, while only 36 percent want them to continue.
Black Lives Matter still receives a net favorable rating — 47 percent favorable versus 43 percent unfavorable — but it has contracted by 20 points since early June, when the split was 57 percent favorable to 33 percent unfavorable. Thirty-three percent of Americans now view the protests as “mostly violent acts,” up from 21 percent in early June. Fifty-seven percent say the protests “have gone too far.” And 59 percent say they are “very” or “somewhat” worried about “a breakdown of law and order in American cities.”
In recent weeks, Trump has repeatedly attempted to capitalize on these worries; more registered voters now believe, for instance, that the president sent federal agents to Portland “to bolster his ‘law and order’ reelection campaign” (49 percent) than believe he sent them to “keep anarchists from destroying federal buildings” (45 percent), his stated rationale.
The problem for Trump is that his show of force is not working, either practically or politically. Forty-five percent of Americans say it was not necessary for the administration to send federal agents to Portland; just 38 percent say it was necessary. Forty-eight percent say federal agents have increased tensions in Portland; just 14 percent say they have lessened tensions. Forty-two percent say local police are best suited to handle situations like Portland; just 33 percent would prefer federal agents. Forty-five percent say the administration should not send federal agents to deal with protests in other cities; just 36 percent would support sending federal agents elsewhere.
As a result, 44 percent say the country would become less safe if Trump wins reelection. Only 31 percent say the country would become safer. And more American people believe “bringing people together” will help get things under control (56 percent) than believe the same about “law and order” (44 percent).
Coronavirus is a similar story. Trump’s approval rating for handling the pandemic now stands at its lowest level yet: 37 percent. Disapproval (57 percent) is at a high point. Despite the president’s recent return to the podium for regular COVID-19 briefings, the public has largely concluded that his disengaged, denialist approach to the virus is insufficient: 51 percent of Americans say Trump is not doing enough about the pandemic, compared with only 31 percent who say he is doing the right amount. (Six percent say the president is doing too much.) Just a quarter of the country (26 percent) approves of Trump promoting the use of hydroxychloroquine on Twitter; a majority (54 percent) disapproves.
Asked who deserves more blame for the continuing spread of the coronavirus in the U.S. — Trump or governors — a plurality (42 percent to 31 percent) blames Trump more. A majority blames Trump (51 percent) more than China (31 percent). Forty-nine percent of registered voters say the coronavirus situation would have been better if Biden were president; only 30 percent say it would have been worse. Going forward, a majority of voters (51 percent) say Biden would do a better job handling the pandemic than Trump (30 percent).
Polarization remains the defining force in U.S. politics, and Biden isn’t held in particularly high esteem. More Americans think the former vice president says what he wants people to hear (47 percent) than what he believes (34 percent), and fewer see him as honest and trustworthy (36 percent) than not (42 percent). Only 19 percent say Biden “cares a lot” about people like them.
Yet at the same time, 55 percent of Americans — a number that rises to 58 percent among registered voters — say “the only thing” Trump “cares about is himself.” Just 36 percent say the same about Biden. A wide majority of registered voters (56 percent) dislike Trump “somewhat” or “a lot.”
In easier times, voters may have put more stock in the one leadership quality a majority of them say Trump possesses: audacity (57 percent). But today, amid multiple crises, that turns out to be the leadership quality they value the least, with just 31 percent describing it as “very important” right now.
Instead, far more voters say taking responsibility (86 percent), competence (85 percent), honesty (84 percent) and empathy (64 percent) are very important. Trump trails Biden among registered voters in every category: by 12 points, 5 points, 11 points and 22 points, respectively.
The Yahoo News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,506 U.S. adult residents interviewed online between July 28-30, 2020. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education, as well as 2016 presidential vote, registration status, geographic region and news interest. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all U.S residents. The margin of error is approximately 3.3 percent.
Nearly two-thirds of Americans disapprove of President Donald Trump‘s handling of three major challenges facing the country — the coronavirus pandemic, nationwide unrest over racial inequality and relations with Russia — in a new ABC News/Ipsos poll, a sign of the obstacles that his reelection bid faces just three months before Election Day.
With the White House confronting the most significant reckoning on race since the civil rights movement of the 1960s, the worst public health crisis in a century, and a hostile Russia reminiscent of the Cold War, Americans have little confidence in the job Trump is doing in all three of these major areas.
Trump closes out the month of July the way it began, with his approval on the coronavirus in the low 30s. His approval sits at 34%, right about where it was earlier this month (33%) when it reached a new low since ABC News/Ipsos began surveying on the virus in March.
In the new poll, which was conducted by Ipsos in partnership with ABC News using Ipsos’ Knowledge Panel, Trump’s approval is also deeply underwater — at 36% — for how he is handling both the protests over racial inequality and relations with one of the country’s greatest geopolitical foes, Russia.
An election that comes down to be a referendum on Trump’s handling of the coronavirus, his response to the race movement or his dealings with foreign adversaries spells trouble for the incumbent president. With all three crises, Trump only consistently has the support of his own party and his base.
Republicans back Trump’s handling of the coronavirus (74%), the protests (78%) and Russia (80%) by overwhelming margins. Democrats are almost uniformly in opposition to Trump’s managing of the three issues, with approval of the president in single-digits on the pandemic (7%), the unrest (8%) and Russia (8%).
Roughly 1 in 5 Republicans disapprove of the president on coronavirus (26%), the protests (22%) and Russia (20%), and just over 9 in 10 Democrats disapprove on all three matters.
Independents trace the country’s attitudes, with his approval falling between 30% to 33% and his disapproval landing between 66% and 69% on COVID-19, the demonstrations and his approach to Russia. About half of Trump’s base — white, non-college educated Americans — approve of his leadership on the outbreak (50%), the protests (51%) and Russia (51%).
The latest numbers for Trump are particularly problematic on his combative response to the nationwide protests — as his approval is in dire straits across racial lines. Only 45% of whites, 7% of Black Americans and 28% of Hispanics approve of Trump’s handling on this specific issue.
Over half of whites (55%), and clear majorities of Black Americans (92%) and Hispanics (72%), disapprove.
Meanwhile, less than one-third of the country believes that sending federal officers to respond to demonstrations in cities makes the situation better.
A slight majority (52%) view the response as exacerbating the situation, and 19% say it doesn’t have an effect either way.
Even among Americans who are supposed to be Trump loyalists, only 42% of white non-college educated Americans say that the presence of federal agents improves the situation. Over a third (37%) of this demographic see the move as making the situation worse.
Out of an abundance of caution, the top general of the Marines has ordered a suspension of using AAVs until it’s determine what sank the other craft.
The incident occurred around 5:45 p.m. local time near the northwest part of San Clemente Island, the Navy-owned piece of land 80 miles off the coast of Southern California. The island is used by the Navy and Marine Corps for training.
Fifteen Marines and a sailor were aboard the AAV as it made its way back to the U.S. Navy amphibious ship USS Somerset, according to three defense officials.
The AAV was among a group of 13 AAVs returning to the ship, which was approximately a mile from shore, Lt. General Joseph Osterman, commander of I Marine Expeditionary Force, said at a press conference Friday.
Osterman said that the personnel aboard the AAV signaled to other AAVs that they were taking on water. Immediate aid provided by personnel on two other AAVs and those on a safety boat accompanying the vehicles helped rescue eight of the imperiled Marines.
„It sank completely,” said Osterman, adding that „the assumption is it went all the way to the bottom,” several hundred feet below the surface, too deep for divers.
One of the rescued Marines died later, and two others were rushed to local hospitals and last reported in critical condition. The other five who were rescued returned to the ship.
„We are continuing search-and-rescue operations at this point,” Gen. David Berger, Commandant of the Marine Corps, told reporters. „We have not moved into recovery operations. We’re still looking for them.”
AAV training on land would continue although operations on water were being suspended „out of an abundance of caution,” he added.
Multiple ships and helicopters from the Navy and Coast Guard continued combing the waters off of San Clemente Island looking for the missing service members.
The Marines were from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, I Marine Expeditionary Force, that ‘s based at Camp Pendleton, north of San Diego.
AAVs are used to carry out beach landings. The small, armored craft are launched from Navy amphibious ships and convert into armored personnel carriers on land.
“We are deeply saddened by this tragic incident. I ask that you keep our Marines, sailors and their families in your prayers as we continue our search,” said Col. Christopher Bronzi, commander of the 15th MEU.
There have been 10 to 15 reported incidents over the past 20 years involving AAVs, with the most recent report involving a water-based fatality happening in January 2011.
„San Clemente is a very challenging amphibious training ground,” said Eric Oehlerich, an ABC News contributor and former Navy SEAL who’s conducted trainings there. „Night amphibious training is some of the most complex and high-risk training you can do as an amphibious soldier.”
1 Marine dead, 8 missing after training accident off California originally appeared on abcnews.go.com
Khabarovsk (Russia) (AFP) – Locals say a struggle for democratic freedoms is unfolding in the far eastern Russian city of Khabarovsk, where the arrest of a popular governor has unleashed massive protests.
„Sometimes I feel like crying with joy when I see everyone so united,” 21-year-old student Yekaterina Ishchenko told AFP.
For the last three weeks, she and thousands of other residents of the city 6,000 kilometres (3,700 miles) east of Moscow have taken to the streets, with another huge rally due on Saturday.
For Ishchenko, this is her first taste of political activism.
Tens of thousands attended a rally last weekend, according to journalists and activists, while police put the figure at just 6,500.
Such protests are rare in the region seven time zones away from the capital, where most opposition protests take place.
They were sparked by the arrest on July 9 of regional governor Sergei Furgal.
Investigators accused the 50-year-old former businessman of ordering two contract killings and an attempted murder 15 years ago.
He was flown to Moscow where he is being held in custody.
His supporters see the probe as aimed at removing an overly independent politician, elected in 2018 after standing against an incumbent from the ruling party backing President Vladimir Putin.
„It’s a slap in the face for us. We voted for him!” said 72-year-old pensioner Marina Beletskaya.
Furgal is a member of the nationalist party LDPR which is generally loyal to the Kremlin.
He became a popular governor, with supporters describing him as energetic and ready to listen. Locally, his level of popularity rivalled Putin’s.
– Conflict with Moscow –
„After we elected Furgal, the capital of the Far Eastern Federal District was moved from here to Vladivostok,” said 22-year-old Victoria Sakharova, a sales assistant, referring to the port city on the Pacific coast.
„This was clearly because we elected an opposition candidate.”
Around the size of Turkey, the Khabarovsk region has a population of just 1.3 million.
One factor fuelling protests is long-standing resentment among residents who feel ignored by Moscow.
Added to this are the economic worries in this region bordering China where metallurgy, coal mining and forestry are the main areas of employment.
State media has largely ignored the protests but more independent outlets have described the events positively.
In a recent editorial Vedomosti daily called the protests a „new symbol” representing opposition of „regions against the centre”.
Some protesters shout slogans expressing anger at Putin.
Khabarovsk was one of those least supportive regions in a July 1 vote on changing the constitution to allow Putin to extend his rule. The „yes” vote was 15 percent below the national average.
– Sent from Moscow –
In a bid to appease the protesters, Moscow appointed a new acting governor from Furgal’s LDPR party, Mikhail Degtyarev.
But the 39-year-old MP, known for proposing wacky bills, has faced a chilly reception.
He made matters worse by claiming not to „have time” to meet protesters and alleging they received backing from foreign „provocateurs”.
„We should have chosen a local person to replace him ourselves. But instead we were sent someone who only knows Khabarovsk from 5,000-ruble banknotes,” said Sakharova. The banknote (worth $68) depicts views of the city.
In a sign that the scale of the protests may have spooked the regional authorities the police have shown unusual restraint, allowing the protests to go ahead and only detaining a handful of people.
Even Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov this week praised the police’s forbearance while unauthorised protests are usually quickly broken up in Russia.
„We still fear they’ll arrest us,” said 47-year-old protester Yury Petrov.
„We’re living through a moment of democracy but it will doubtless be fleeting.”
MOSCOW (AP) — The Kremlin demanded Friday that Belarus quickly release 33 Russian private security contractors it detained on terrorism charges, dismissing accusations of plots during the Belarus presidential campaign as bogus.
The allegations represent an unprecedented escalation of tensions between Russia and neighboring Belarus, traditionally close allies, as Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko seeks a sixth term in the Aug. 9 election.
Belarusian officials said the employees of private Russian military contractor Wagner, who were detained Wednesday, are facing a criminal probe on charges of plotting terror attacks in Belarus amid the country’s presidential election campaign.
The Ukrainian authorities, meanwhile, said Friday they will ask Belarus to hand over 28 of the detainees on charges of fighting alongside Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.
The Wagner company is linked to Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian businessman who was indicted in the United States for meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The firm has allegedly deployed hundreds of military contractors to eastern Ukraine, Syria and Libya.
Independent observers and opposition supporters in Belarus see the detention of the Russians as part of the authoritarian Lukashenko’s efforts to shore up sagging public support.
The Kremlin, which first reacted cautiously to Belarus’ move, toughened its stance Friday. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia expects Belarus to quickly free the detainees.
“The unwarranted detention of the 33 Russian citizens doesn’t fit into the framework of the allied relations,” Peskov said during a conference call with reporters. “We expect our Belarusian allies to clear up this incident immediately and release our citizens.”
Peskov said members of a Russian security firm were en route to an unspecified country and were detained after missing a connecting flight to Istanbul at the Belarusian capital of Minsk’s airport.
“They have done nothing wrong and carried no illegal items,” he added.
The Russian Embassy in Minsk said Friday that Belarusian authorities met its demand for consular access to the detainees.
Experts say Belarus long has provided a transit corridor for sensitive Russian operations abroad. Lukashenko now appears to be trying to use a routine Russian deployment for his own political gain.
Throughout his 26 years as president, Lukashenko, a former collective farm director, has relied on Russian subsidies to keep the nation’s Soviet-style economy running but resisted Moscow’s push for closer integration of the neighboring nations. He frequently accused the Kremlin of harboring plans to incorporate Belarus with Russia and vowed to resist them.
The 65-year-old Belarusian leader is campaigning to retain his post amid a wave of opposition protests driven by weariness and anger over his iron-fisted rule and the bruising economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic.
Belarus election officials have blocked his two main challengers from being registered to run against him. One of them has been jailed on what supporters call fake charges. The other fled to Russia with his children after alleged reports from security officials that he would be arrested and his children would be taken away.
The opposition has united behind another candidate, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the wife of a jailed opposition blogger.
On Thursday, Belarus’ Investigative Committee linked the detained Russians to her husband as part of a criminal investigation into alleged preparations for staging “mass riots.”
Speaking Thursday at a rally in Minsk that drew tens of thousands in the biggest demonstration since the start of the presidential campaign, Tikhanovskaya dismissed the charges against her husband as a crude fabrication.
Yuras Karmanau in Minsk contributed to this report.