Pollster warns of post-midterm ‘civil war’ if voters don’t accept election results

‘We could have a situation of 2020 all over again and all over the country if governors, senators, secretaries of state choose not to accept their loss,’ said pollster Frank Luntz

Johanna Chisholm
Friday 21 October 2022 20:50 BST
What are the US midterm elections and when are they due?

With less than three weeks to go until voters have their say in the midterms, a pollster is warning of a potential “civil war” if Maga candidates don’t accept the results.

Republican pollster Frank Luntz made his ominous warnings while appearing on Friday morning’s Morning Joe, where he predicted that the fallout from the midterms could have serious repercussions if politicians lose in states where candidates have been known to traffic in election-denying conspiracies.

The GOP analyst also speculated that voters seem to be disenfranchised by candidates who they put their faith in at the ballot box, but who seem to “become part of the system” once elected.

“They are angry, the partisanship, the rancour and anger at the conditions,” he said, explaining how democracies around the world, such as Israel, Germany and France, are experiencing similar trends in their electorate.

“Governments are not performing in the way that public wants, and I’m genuinely afraid in this country that we’re about two and half weeks away from a group of candidates simply not accepting the results,” Mr Luntz predicted. “And this is my warning to you all and to the viewers watching at home. We could have a situation of 2020 all over again and all over the country if governors, senators, secretaries of state choose not to accept their loss and continue to fight back.”

Mr Luntz also noted that he didn’t believe that this “rancour” was being experienced not just on the right side of the political spectrum, but on the Democratic side as well.

“It’s not the just Republicans, we’re in trouble here,” he said, adding, “I don’t want to get to a civil war, I want a democracy that survives and thrives.”

The spectre of this year’s midterms is something that the electorate also believe has been raised, with a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center of Public Affairs Research finding this week that 71 per cent of registered voters think the future of the US is at stake when they vote this November.

Across parties, about two-thirds of voters say they are pessimistic about politics, but they also say that casting their ballot this year is extremely or very important.

On the Friday morning MSNBC segment, host Joe Scarborough pushed back on Mr Luntz’s characterisation that both Republicans and Democrats are equally to blame for the amped up atmosphere that could come post-midterms. He noted that Donald Trump, the former president who stoked a crowd of supporters outside the Capitol ahead of the violent insurrection on 6 January 2021, was more likely to instigate an angry rebellion over any Democratic leader.

“Frank, we just played a clip from one of the focus groups,” said the MSNBC host. “Every Trump voter she talked to believes that [Joe] Biden is not the rightful president, believes the lies that they’ve been told repeatedly, [who] think Janueary 6 is much ado about nothing. You have candidates that are running for governor, they are election deniers, they are going to be leaders in the House. They say they won’t accept the results.”

“I mean, yes, I understand there have been Democrats here and there, a small handful, that have challenged election results,” Scarborough conceded, “but here in 2022, this is coming from the Republican Party, and it seems to be a clear and present danger to American democracy.”

With less than a month to go, national polls for US President Joe Biden’s approval rating have begun to flatline in the 40 per cent range, with voters continuing to signal that they’re chief concern is the economy and consumer prices over any other issue. Democrats are expected to lose the House, while the battle for control of the Senate remains a tighter race.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in