The much-maligned Arizona election audit reinforced doubt about the 2020 election results, according to a new poll

Arizona election recount audit
A contractor working for Cyber Ninjas transports ballots from the 2020 general election at Veterans Memorial Coliseum on May 1, 2021.
  • Findings from the Arizona audit released in September confirmed Biden beat Trump in the state.
  • But the majority of Republicans have rejected the review's results, believing instead the recount found significant fraud.
  • A new poll from Monmouth University reveals the ongoing divide within Americans' political beliefs.

When organizers of the troubled GOP-led election audit in Maricopa County, Arizona, finally released results from the months-long, oft-delayed recount in September, the findings confirmed that President Joe Biden beat former President Donald Trump fairly in the largest county in the once-solidly red state. 

But despite the additional proof of Biden's success, the controversial "audit" actually played a role in increasing the level of doubt surrounding the historic presidential election, according to a new Monmouth University poll.

Earlier this year, the state's GOP-controlled Senate chose Cyber Ninjas, a private firm, to carry out another count of the 2.1 million ballots in Maricopa County, where Biden beat Trump by more than 45,000 votes. 

Billed by Senate Republicans as a mechanism to instill faith in US elections, the controversial audit was funded by right-wing donors and widely criticized, even by other local Republicans in the state. Maricopa County's GOP-led Board of Supervisors said the recount's draft reports were "littered with errors and faulty conclusions."

Even still, the effort found that Biden did beat Trump, resulting in an additional 99 votes for Biden and a loss of 261 votes for Trump.

In a Monmouth University poll of 811 adults in the US by telephone from November 4 to 8 of this year, the majority of Americans, 36% said the review proved that Biden won the county fairly and another 21% said they aren't sure about the report but guess that it probably showed Biden's legitimate victory. 

Twenty-nine percent of all Americans, meanwhile, said the audit found (13%) or probably found (16%) fraud.

Comparatively, the majority of Republicans polled have rejected the audit's findings, choosing instead to believe that the process did find significant fraud. Among Republicans, 32% said the so-called audit did find evidence of fraud, while another 30% said it probably did, according to the Monmouth poll. 

In a Washington Post opinion piece Monday, Greg Sargent theorized that the audit's mere existence helped fuel the falsehood that the presidency was "stolen" from Trump, never mind the actual findings. 

"The whole point of these sham audits — and other efforts to delegitimize the 2020 outcome, which continue today — is to keep Republican voters enraged and energized, and worse, to possibly lay the justificatory foundation for overturning future election losses by whatever means are necessary and available," Sargent wrote.

The Monmouth poll also found that  54% of Republicans believe the anger that led to the January 6 Capitol attack was justified, compared to 27% of all Americans who agree.

Nearly half said the country has become more divided since Biden took office, while 38% said nothing has really changed. Under Trump, last November, 70% said the country was more divided, while 16% said nothing has really changed.

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