Heartland/Rasmussen Poll: One-in-Five Democrats Want Donald Trump Permanently Imprisoned, Exiled, or Executed if Convicted Over Election Fraud Claims

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Among Democrat likely voters, 18% think Trump should be punished by “jail for life,” “permanent exile,” or “death,” if found guilty

Heartland/Rasmussen Poll: One-in-Five Democrats Want Donald Trump Permanently Imprisoned, Exiled, or Executed if Convicted Over Election Fraud Claims

Shocking results from a new poll potential Trump and media punishment related to the 2020 presidential election.
Shocking results from a new poll potential Trump and media punishment related to the 2020 presidential election.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL, Dec. 13, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL (December 13, 2023) – A new poll by The Heartland Institute and Rasmussen Reports found that nearly half of likely voters (47%) believe former President Donald Trump to be guilty of “crimes associated with an alleged attempt to overturn the 2020 election.” If Trump is found guilty, Democrats in particular favor harsh punishments for Trump, as well as any members of the media “who also alleged that fraud tainted the election results.”

This poll is the second half of a Heartland / Rasmussen poll released on December 12, which found that one-in-five likely voters who submitted mail-in ballots in the 2020 presidential election committed at least one form of voter fraud.

When prompted with, “Former president Donald Trump has been formally charged with crimes associated with an alleged attempt to overturn the 2020 election. Do you think Donald Trump is guilty, not guilty, or are you unsure if he’s guilty or not guilty?”, 47% of likely voters answered “yes,” including 72% of Democrats and 20% of Republicans.

When asked what Trump’s punishment should be if he is found guilty of these crimes, 34% of likely voters said he should receive a fine, 5% said he should go to prison for less than one year, 16% said he should go to prison for one to five years, 16% said he should go to prison for more than five years, 7% said he should go to prison for life, 3% said he should be permanently exiled, and 2% said “death” should be his punishment. Eighteen percent (18%) selected “not sure.” 

A combined 18% of Democrats believe Trump should be imprisoned for life, permanently exiled, or put to death, compared to a combined 3% of Republicans.

When the same question was asked of those who already believe Trump to be guilty, 8% of likely voters said he should receive a fine, 5% said he should go to prison for less than a year, 29% said he should go to prison for one to five years, 32% said he should go to prison for more than five years, 13% said he should go to prison for life, 4% said he should be permanently exiled, and 4% said “death” should be his punishment.

A combined 24% of Democrats who believe Trump to be guilty think the former president should be imprisoned for life, permanently exiled, or put to death, compared to a combined 14% of Republicans.

When asked if Trump “should be banned from running from public office again” if found guilty, 54% of likely voters responded “yes,” 41% responded “no,” and 5% responded “not sure.” Seventy-seven percent (77%) of Democrats said “yes,” compared to 29% of Republicans.

Media Punishment Warranted, Too?

In addition, when prompted with, “If President Trump is found guilty of crimes associated with attempting to overturn the 2020 election, do you think members of the media who also alleged that fraud tainted the election results should be criminally punished as well?”, 48% of likely voters responded “yes,” 33% responded “no,” and 19% responded “not sure.” Fifty-seven percent (57%) of Democrats responded “yes,” compared to 43% of Republicans.

When asked “what the punishment should be for those in the media who alleged that the 2020 election outcome was fraudulent,” 33% of likely voters said media members should receive a fine, 18% said they should be banned from public speaking, 4% said they should go to prison for less than one year, 7% said they should go to prison for more than one year, and 10% said they should receive “both [a] speech ban and prison.” Twenty-eight percent (28%) said they were “not sure.” 

A combined 48% of Democrats believe media members should be punished through a ban on public speaking, prison time, or a combination of both. 

Overall, these poll results indicate that Democrat likely voters are far more willing than their Republican counterparts to embrace authoritarian tactics such as imprisoning political opponents and punishing free speech that they do not agree with. The results are especially interesting when one considers the results of the first half of this poll, which provides strong evidence of rampant fraud in the 2020 election.

The poll of 1,085 likely voters was conducted from November 30 to December 6, 2023. Among those surveyed in the poll, 33% were Republicans, 36% were Democrats, and 31% were “other”; 32% were 18-39 years old, 46% were 40-64 years old, and 22% were 65 or older.

The following statements from policy experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. If you’d like to interview a Heartland Institute expert on this topic or other topics, please contact Justin Haskins, the director of Heartland’s Socialism Research Center and primary author of the Heartland/Rasmussen survey, at [email protected], or contact Vice President and Director of Communications Jim Lakely at [email protected]. You can also call/text Jim at 312-731-9364.

 

“Freedom of the press and freedom of speech are integral to an open society. Unfortunately, a growing number of Americans do not believe that these fundamental freedoms should apply to controversial topics, such as questioning the integrity of the 2020 election. Incredibly, almost one in two self-identified Democrats believe that anyone in the media who raised concerns about the veracity of the previous presidential election should be punished through a ban on public speaking, prison time, or a combination of both.

“This is quite distressing and reflective of the increasing aversion to freedom of speech that is becoming all too common throughout the education system and society at large. If America is to remain the beacon of liberty, we must ensure that freedom of the press and freedom of speech remain robust and well outside the realm of partisan politics.”

Chris Talgo
Editorial Director, Research Fellow
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

 

“The absurdity of the modern political discourse is on full display in these poll results. We knew about the over-the-top vitriol aimed at President Donald Trump. And while this is alarming in itself, the views of the left eager to punish dissenters in the media are truly shocking. Do those that call for the state to punish speech they deem unacceptable still consider themselves ‘liberal’?” 

Donald Kendal
Deputy Director, Socialism Research Center
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

 

“If we needed any more evidence of the political left’s troubling descent into authoritarianism, this poll provides it in spades. The number of Americans – especially Democrats – who already presume Trump’s guilt is already highly concerning. And, if he’s found guilty, more than three-quarters of Democrats believe he should be banned from public office, with approximately one-fifth opting to jail him for life, put him permanently in exile, or execute him.

“Even more concerning, however, is the desire of most Democrats to criminally punish any member of the media who shared Trump’s views on the election results. As has become crystal clear in recent years, anyone who does not adopt the party line of Democrats is apparently deserving of censorship, cancellation, and worse. A staggering 48 percent of Democrats believe that if Trump is found guilty, any media members who dared to question the election results should be banned from public speaking, sent to prison, or a combination of both. For all their (baseless) talk of how Republicans are the party of fascism, it is clear that Democrats are simply projecting their own fascist tendencies.”

Jack McPherrin
Research Editor, Research Fellow
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

  

“Freedom of the press and freedom of speech are integral to an open society. Unfortunately, a growing number of Americans do not believe that these fundamental freedoms should apply to controversial topics, such as questioning the integrity of the 2020 election. Incredibly, almost one in two self-identified Democrats believe that anyone in the media who raised concerns about the veracity of the previous presidential election should be punished through a ban on public speaking, prison time, or a combination of both. 

“This is quite distressing and reflective of the increasing aversion to freedom of speech that is becoming all too common throughout our education system and society at large. If America is to remain the beacon of liberty, we must ensure that freedom of the press and freedom of speech remain robust and well outside the realm of partisan politics.”

Jim Lakely
Vice President and Director of Communications
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

 

The Heartland Institute is a national nonprofit organization founded in 1984 and headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. 

 

Survey of 1,085 National Likely Voters

November 30 – December 6, 2023

Conducted by Rasmussen Reports and the Heartland Institute

 

1. How would you rate the job Joe Biden has been doing as President… do you strongly approve, somewhat approve, somewhat disapprove, or strongly disapprove of the job he’s been doing?

 

27% strongly approve

17% somewhat approve

11% somewhat disapprove

44% strongly disapprove

1% not sure

 

2. Former president Donald Trump has been formally charged with crimes associated with an alleged attempt to overturn the 2020 election. Do you think Donald Trump is guilty, not guilty, or are you unsure if he’s guilty or not guilty?

 

            47% he is guilty

            41% he is not guilty

            13% not sure

 

3. If President Trump is found guilty of crimes associated with attempting to overturn the 2020 election, what, in your opinion, should be his punishment?

           
            34% he should pay a fine

            5% he should get less than one year in prison

            16% he should get between one and five years in prison

            16% he should get more than 5 years in prison

            7% he should get life in prison

            3% he should get permanently exiled to a foreign nation

            2% he should get the death penalty

            18% not sure

 

Answered by the 523 respondents who said Trump was guilty:

 

4. If President Trump is found guilty of crimes associated with attempting to overturn the 2020 election, what, in your opinion, should be his punishment?

           
            8% he should pay a fine

            5% he should get less than one year in prison

            29% he should get between one and five years in prison

            32% he should get more than 5 years in prison

            13% he should get life in prison

            4% he should get permanently exiled to a foreign nation

            4% he should get the death penalty

            6% not sure

 

Answered by all respondents:  

5. If President Trump is found guilty of crimes associated with attempting to overturn the 2020 election, do you think he should be banned from running from public office again?

 

54% yes

41% no

5% not sure

 

6. If President Trump is found guilty of crimes associated with attempting to overturn the 2020 election, do you think members of the media who also alleged that fraud tainted the election results should be criminally punished as well?

 

48% yes

33% no

19% not sure

 

7. Generally speaking, what should the punishment be for those in the media who alleged that the outcome of the 2020 Presidential election was fraudulent?

 

            33% they should pay a fine

            18% they should be permanently banned from speaking publicly

            4% they should get less than one year in prison

            7% they should get more than one year in prison

            10% they should receive both a public speech ban and time in prison

            28% not sure

 

 

Answered by the 524 respondents who said the media was guilty:  

8. Generally speaking, what should the punishment be for those in the media who alleged that the outcome of the 2020 Presidential election was fraudulent?

 

            32% they should pay a fine

            23% they should be permanently banned from speaking publicly

            5% they should get less than one year in prison

            11% they should get more than one year in prison

            18% they should receive both a public speech ban and time in prison

            12% not sure

 

NOTE: Margin of Sampling Error, +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence

 

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CONTACT: Jim Lakely The Heartland Institute 312-731-9364 [email protected] 

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