Now in its seventh week, the review of 2.1 million votes in Arizona’s most populous county has ballooned not just into a national political spectacle, but also a political wind sock for the Republican Party — an early test of how its renewed subservience to Mr. Trump would play with voters.
The returns to date are not encouraging for the party. A late-May poll of 400 Arizonans by the respected consulting firm HighGround Inc. found that more than 55 percent of respondents opposed the vote review, most of them strongly. Fewer than 41 percent approved of it. By about 45 to 33 percent, respondents said they were less likely — much less, most said — to vote for a Republican candidate who supported the review.
The review itself, troubled by procedural blunders and defections, has largely sacrificed any claim to impartiality. The Pennsylvania computer forensics firm that was conducting the hand recount of ballots quit without a clear explanation this month, adding further chaos to a count that election authorities and other critics say has been making up its rules as it went along….
Instead, the Republicans in the Arizona Senate have doubled down. And as the review’s notoriety has grown, pro-Trump Republicans in other states like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania have begun to promote their own plans to investigate the November vote, even though — as in Arizona — elections in those states have been certified as accurate and free from any fraud that could have affected the outcome.
The sudden interest in exhuming the November election is explained by another number from the poll in Arizona: While only about 41 percent of all 400 respondents said they supported the Maricopa audit, almost 77 percent of Republican respondents did.
Among the Trump supporters who dominate the Republican Party, skepticism about the election results, fueled almost entirely by Mr. Trump’s lies, remains unshaken, and catering to it is politically profitable.