As Donald Trump insists that the election will be rigged, a significant portion of voters are convinced that the White House will be “stolen” from the Republican candidate.
According to a new Politico/Morning Consult poll, 41 per cent of registered voters believe that Mr Trump could lose the election as a result of widespread voter fraud. The results of the poll fell along party lines as 73 per cent of Republicans and 17 per cent of Democrats believed in such an outcome.
Mr Trump has been unrelenting in his indictment of the electoral process since his campaign descended into a freefall after the release of tapes that captured him bragging about sexual assault in 2005. The tapes worsened a campaign already dwindling from the New York businessman’s lacklustre debate performances.
After at least nine women accused Mr Trump of sexual assault spanning decades, the candidate denied the claims and dismissed them as a false media narrative commissioned by the Clinton campaign.
“The election is being rigged by corrupt media pushing false allegations and outright lies in an effort to elect Hillary Clinton president,” Mr Trump said at a campaign stop in Bangor, Maine, on Saturday. “We are going to stop it. We are not going to back down.”
But the question of a rigged election appears to be a point of contention between Mr Trump and his own running mate, Indiana Gov Mike Pence.
“We will absolutely accept the result of the election,” Mr Pence told NBC on Sunday. “Look, the American people will speak in an election that will culminate on November the 8th. But the American people are tired of the obvious bias in the national media.”
On Twitter, however, Mr Trump tells a different tale.
“Of course there is large scale voter fraud happening on and before election day,” he tweeted on Monday morning. “Why do Republican leaders deny what is going on? So naive!”
Mr Trump has repeatedly called on his predominantly white supporters to monitor polling places, raising concerns of voter intimidation in areas with voters of colour.
“Trump said to watch your precincts. I’m going to go, for sure,” 61-year-old Ohio carpenter Steve Webb recently told the Boston Globe.
“I’ll look for…well, it’s called racial profiling. Mexicans. Syrians. People who can’t speak American,” he said. “I’m going to go right up behind them. I’ll do everything legally. I want to see if they are accountable.
“I’m not going to do anything illegal. I’m going to make them a little bit nervous.”
Still, voter fraud is incredibly rare in the US. A study conducted by Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt found that of the one billion votes cast between 2000 and 2014, only 31 credible counts of voter impersonation occured.