Republican Pollster: Trump's false "rigged" electoral claims may have an effect on the GOP's possibilities of maintaining the Senate
Republican pollster and strategist Frank Luntz told CNBC on Monday that President Donald Trump's ongoing attacks on electoral integrity could violate the GOP in the upcoming Georgia Senate runoff, which will determine the balance of power in the upper chamber.
"If he continues to disillusion voters … by saying the elections have been rigged and your vote doesn't matter, it could have dire consequences for the government trying to keep those two Republican seats," Luntz said in "Squawk Box". "
NBC News predicts the GOP has a two-seat lead in the Senate [50-48]. The remaining two vacancies in Georgia will be decided in a runoff election on January 5th. One race takes place between Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Raphael Warnock, while the other meets incumbent GOP Senator David Perdue and Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff.
A pair of Democratic victories would put the party in control of the Senate – along with the House and the Presidency. This would likely significantly change the political decision-making process in Washington under Democratic President-elect Joe Biden, who won the Georgian presidential race. Luntz previously described the runoff elections on January 5 as "the most important Senate elections in modern times".
Trump did not award the November 3 presidential election to Biden, though, despite various media organizations, including NBC News, scheduling the race more than two weeks ago. Instead, Trump and his campaign led – mostly unsuccessful – legal disputes in various battlefield states.
The president repeatedly launched unsubstantiated attacks on the integrity of the elections, falsely claiming he won and proposing without evidence that a widespread voter was the reason for Biden's advantage. Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, has also advocated far-fetched conspiracy theories to dismiss the election result.
A coalition of US government security agencies has also defended the integrity of the election, calling it "the safest in American history." The statement added, "There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or compromised in any way."
There has also been a growing number of Republican elected officials who have also urged Trump to make a concession, including Pennsylvania Senator Patrick Toomey.
"I fully supported the president in pursuing every plausible strategy – recounts and litigation – but at some point you exhaust those possibilities," Toomey said on Monday, also on "Squawk Box". "I think the president got that point in Pennsylvania. He seems to have got that point in Georgia. Michigan wasn't even around." He added, "I can assure you that I am not alone among Republican senators with this view."
Luntz said his latest polls showed Republican voters in Georgia appear to be more interested in the January runoff election. 80% of GOP voters said they definitely plan to vote, compared to 70% of Democrats. However, he said if Trump continues to falsely isolate that the election has been rigged against him, his own voters could be deterred from showing up in January. According to reports from Axios' co-founder Mike Allen, this is a concern of other Republicans.
"I would argue that Donald Trump will and will determine the outcome of the race in the Georgia Senate for the next six weeks and potentially determine the outcome of our country as a whole," Luntz said. "We still find that 55% of Trump voters in Georgia … believe Donald Trump was elected president, and that's why they're crazy," Luntz added.
Biden's win in Georgia was confirmed on Friday.