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No, it’s not true that more than 65% of Americans believe the 2020 election was fraudulent

A viral meme claims that “over 65% of the country believes that [the] 2020 election was fraudulent,” but that’s never been true. Let’s take a look at the facts.

A Facebook post that says “With an election for president 3 years away… he drew over 90,000 last night in Texas. Something big is obviously happening!” The post includes an image of a crowd with the text “Over 65% of the country believes that [the] 2020 election was fraudulent. That number was around 35% a year ago.” The News Literacy Project added a label that says, “FALSE.”
More than 65% of Americans do not actually believe that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent.
According to 14 public opinion surveys about the election reviewed by PolitiFact, the proportion of Americans who say that they don’t trust the integrity of the election “has hovered around 35% since November 2020.”
In at least three of these surveys, the share of Republicans who say they don’t trust the election results was around 65%.

NewsLit takeaway

Purveyors of disinformation often exaggerate public sentiment for or against key political figures and issues to distort political discourse and influence political agendas. This particular rumor also seeks to use fabricated public opinion “data” to create the illusion of substance around baseless allegations of fraud in the 2020 election. Cognitive biases — including our natural tendencies to confirm our existing beliefs and privilege our direct experiences over empirical data — play a major role in the acceptance of this kind of false evidence.

NLP’s viral rumor rundown is a regular feature in The Sift, its weekly email newsletter for educators, and in Get Smart About News, its weekly email newsletter for the general public. You can subscribe to these newsletters here. Send suggestions, questions or feedback on this rumor or on the viral rumor rundown blog to thesift@newslit.org.