Despite a mountain of evidence showing the 2020 presidential contest wasn’t rigged against Donald Trump, nearly 6 in 10 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (57 percent) now say they will not vote in upcoming elections for any candidate who admits that Joe Biden won the presidency “fair and square.”

Only 17 percent say they would consider voting for a candidate who accurately characterizes Biden’s victory as legitimate.

These numbers underscore the degree to which Trump’s “big lie” claiming Biden cheated his way into the White House — a falsehood that three-quarters of Trump voters (74 percent) now believe — has become a litmus test for the entire GOP, crowding out other issues and strengthening Trump’s grip on the party ahead of the 2022 midterms.

For his part, Trump has made it clear that supporting his election fabrications is key to his own personal endorsement. Indeed, the former president is backing primary candidates against state officials who bucked his attempts to overturn the election.

The poll data also helps explain why Republican presidential hopefuls such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis now want to spend millions of dollars on special “election crimes” police units tasked with finding fraud where they previously insisted there was none.

“The way Florida did it, I think, inspired confidence,” DeSantis said immediately after the 2020 election. “That’s how elections should be run.”

The survey of 1,568 U.S. adults, which was conducted from Jan. 20 to 24, found that when asked which issue they want future candidates to focus on the most, the share of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who say “stopping Democrats from rigging and stealing elections” (17 percent) — something that Democrats are not doing — is statistically equivalent to the share who say “bringing down inflation” (19 percent).

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