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NEW YORK (Reuters) – Donald Trump has repeatedly called this year’s presidential election rigged and has coyly said “I will keep you in suspense” on whether he would accept a Hillary Clinton victory, but many Republicans are less circumspect, according to a new poll.

Only half of Republicans would accept Clinton, the Democratic nominee, as their president. And if she wins, nearly 70 percent said it would be because of illegal voting or vote rigging, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Friday.

Conversely, seven out of 10 Democrats said they would accept a Trump victory and less than 50 percent would attribute it to illegal voting or vote rigging, the poll showed.

The findings come after repeated statements by Trump that the media and the political establishment have rigged the election against him. He also has made a number of statements encouraging his supporters to fan out on Election Day to stop illegible voters from casting ballots.

The U.S. government has accused Russia of a campaign of cyber attacks against Democratic Party organizations and state election systems.

Clinton has said she will accept the results of the election no matter the outcome.

The poll showed there is broad concern across the political spectrum about voting issues such as ineligible voters casting ballots, voter suppression, and the actual vote count, but Republicans feel that concern more acutely.

For example, nearly eight out of 10 Republicans are concerned about the accuracy of the final vote count. And though generally they believe they will be able to cast their ballot, only six out of 10 are confident their vote will be counted accurately.

Among Democrats, about six out of 10 are concerned about the vote count. They, too, believe they wi1l be able to cast their ballot, but eight out of 10 are confident their vote will be counted accurately.

“Republicans are just more worried about everything than Democrats,” said Lonna Atkeson, a professor at the University of New Mexico and head of the Center for the Study of Voting, Elections, and Democracy.

FLEE THE COUNTRY?

Additionally, seven out of 10 Republicans are concerned about issues such as vote buying, faulty voting machines, or confusing ballot designs. Six out of 10 Democrats feel the same way.

Nearly eight out of 10 Republicans are concerned that ineligible voters, including non-citizens, will illegally cast ballots. Four out of 10 Democrats feel the same way.

Six out of 10 respondents, regardless of party, say they are concerned about issues such as voter intimidation and suppression.

Atkeson said the level of concern and mistrust in the system, especially among Republicans, is unprecedented.

“I’ve never seen an election like this. Not in my lifetime. Certainly not in modern history.” The difference, she said, is Trump. “It has to be the candidate effect.”

She worries that the lack of trust is dangerous. It is one thing to not trust government, but quite another to doubt the election process. “Then the entire premise of democracy comes into question,” she said.

About one in five Democrats said they would protest if their candidate loses. Slightly fewer Republicans said they would do the same. Fewer than one in 10 Democrats said they are prepared to take up arms in opposition compared to fewer than one in 20 Republicans.

Democrats are also are three times as likely to say they would leave the country.

There is one area where there is little disagreement: Most people do not expect the losing candidate to concede the race gracefully.

The poll surveyed 1,192 American adults online from Oct. 17 to 21. The results have a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points. The credibility interval for Democrats is 5.1 percentage points; for Republicans it is 5.5 points.

(Editing by Richard Valdmanis and Leslie Adler)

Photo: Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a campaign rally in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, U.S. October 21, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL)


Twitter has restricted access to a tweet posted Monday by Rep. Matt Gaetz, in which the Florida Republican called for what commenters described as extrajudicial killings of protesters.

"Now that we clearly see Antifa as terrorists, can we hunt them down like we do those in the Middle East?" Gaetz tweeted, joining Donald Trump and other Republicans in blaming anti-fascists for the violence across the country at protests over the death of George Floyd.

Floyd, an unarmed black man, died after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for eight minutes, even as Floyd said he could not breathe. Autopsies have found that Floyd died of asphyxia.While Gaetz's tweet is still up, users have to click on it to see its contents. It's covered by a box that reads, "This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public's interest for the Tweet to remain accessible."

Democratic lawmakers called out Gaetz in response to the tweet and urged Twitter to remove it from the social media platform.

"Take the Gaetz tweet down right now @twitter. RIGHT NOW," Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) tweeted Monday night. "The survivors of mass shootings are lighting up my phone. They are scared to death this will inspire someone to start shooting into a crowd tonight. They are right."

After Twitter took action against his tweet, Gaetz said, "Their warning is my badge of honor."

"Antifa is a terrorist organization, encouraging riots that hurt Americans. Our government should hunt them down. Twitter should stop enabling them. I'll keep saying it," Gaetz said in a tweet that he pinned to the top of his profile page.

Donald Trump has demanded that the antifa movement be labeled a domestic terrorist organization.

However, as factcheck.org noted, "There is no such official federal designation for domestic terrorism organizations." Even if such a designation existed, the site said, it would be "difficult or questionable" to categorize antifa in that manner because it is not an organized group with a hierarchy and leadership.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.