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NBC News Poll: 50 percent of Republicans doubt their vote will be counted accurately

Just 22 percent of Republicans say President Biden was legitimately elected.
\"I Voted\" stickers sit on a table on the last day of early voting in the Virginia gubernatorial election in Fairfax on Oct. 30, 2021.
"I Voted" stickers on a table on the last day of early voting in the Virginia governor's race in Fairfax on Saturday.Joshua Roberts / Reuters

WASHINGTON — There’s been a significant decline over the past year in voters who think their vote will be counted accurately, a trend driven mainly by Republicans — most of whom still believe false claims that President Joe Biden didn’t legitimately win the 2020 election, according to a new NBC News poll.

Two-thirds of all registered voters, 66 percent, say they are confident their vote will be counted accurately, down from 85 percent in October 2020. And 29 percent say they are not confident that their vote will be counted accurately in the future, compared to 11 percent who said the same a year ago.

While Democrats have stayed steady on the issue (89 percent say they’re confident their vote will be counted accurately), Republicans' confidence in the vote has fallen dramatically as former President Donald Trump has spent much of the past year making baseless and false claims about fraud in the 2020 presidential election.

Last year, 84 percent of Republicans said they were confident in the vote count, about on par with Democrats. But now, 41 percent of Republicans share that view, while 50 percent say they are not confident their vote will be counted accurately.

There’s been a slight uptick in distrust among independents, too — from 84 percent confident and 13 percent not confident in October 2020 to 76 percent confident and 22 percent not confident now.

Just 22 percent of Republican adults believe that Biden was elected legitimately, while 71 percent of independents and 93 percent of Democrats said they believe that Biden's election was legitimate.

Overall, 58 percent of adults believe Biden was legitimately elected, while 38 percent say he was not. Majorities of most demographic groups believe in the legitimacy of Biden's election. But just 35 percent of rural voters, 42 percent of whites without a college degree and 21 percent of those not vaccinated against Covid-19 say Biden's election was legitimate.

In comparison, after the contested 2000 presidential election in Florida was ultimately decided by the Supreme Court in a decision that determined the winner, the public's trust in the legitimacy of the presidential election dipped to a similar point.

From January 2001, when he was inaugurated, to that November, the portion of adults who said President George W. Bush's election was legitimate went from 55 percent to 58 percent, with the portion who felt it was not legitimate dropping, from 39 percent to 35 percent.

Over that time, the vast majority of Republicans (almost 90 percent) said that Bush's election was legitimate, but the portion of Democrats who said the same grew from 20 percent to 32 percent by November.

The NBC News poll was conducted Oct. 23-26 of 1,000 adults — 650 of whom were reached only by cellphone — and it has an overall margin of error of plus-minus 3.1 percentage points.

The margin of error for the poll’s 820 registered voters is plus-minus 3.4 percentage points.