FILE- In a Nov. 7, 2020 file photo, a supporter of President Donald Trump is seen during a rally in Milwaukee after it was…
FILE - A supporter of President Donald Trump is seen during a rally in Milwaukee after it was announced that the president had been defeated by Democrat Joe Biden, Nov. 7, 2020.

A new poll shows that about half of U.S. Republican voters believe the claims of President Donald Trump that he “rightfully won” his re-election contest two weeks ago over his Democratic challenger, President-elect Joe Biden.

Trump has made baseless, near-daily claims that the vote and vote counting was rigged against him, and he has refused to concede the outcome to Biden.

A new Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll of more than 1,300 people released Wednesday showed that 73% agreed that Biden won, and 5% thought Trump had.

But Republicans were skeptical of the outcome when specifically asked whether Biden had “rightfully won.”

Fifty-two percent of Republicans said Trump had “rightfully won,” while only 29% said that Biden had done so.

Asked why, 68% of Republicans expressed concern that the election was “rigged,” as Trump has contended, while only 16% of Democrats said that was the case and a third of independents.

Electoral College advantage

But all major news media in the U.S. have declared that Biden has amassed well more the 270-vote majority in the 538-member Electoral College that is determinative in U.S. presidential elections. Biden also leads by millions in the national popular vote, as did Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016 while losing to Trump in the Electoral College.

Since the election, Trump has largely stayed out of public view, but has complained often on Twitter that he was cheated out of a second term by voting and vote counting irregularities. However, Trump has lost numerous court challenges and has been unable to produce evidence of widespread vote fraud.

Altogether, the poll showed 55% of adults in the United States believed the election was “legitimate and accurate,” a figure down 7 percentage points from a similar poll that ran shortly after the 2016 election.

Twenty-eight percent of those polled in recent days said they thought the election was “the result of illegal voting or election rigging,” a figure up 12 points from four years ago.

What Happens Next?

What It Means to Become President-Elect in the US

In the United States, Democrat Joe Biden is being called the president-elect.

President-elect is a descriptive term not an official office. As such, Biden has no power in the government, and he would not until he is inaugurated at noon on January 20, 2021.

American news networks, which track all of the vote counting, determined on November 7 that Biden’s lead had become insurmountable in Pennsylvania, putting him over the 270 electoral votes needed to be president. Within minutes of determining his lead was mathematically assured, they projected him as the winner.

That is why news organizations, including VOA, are calling Biden the "projected winner."

Sometimes, in the case of particularly close elections, when news networks make this call, the other candidate does not concede victory. President Donald Trump has not done so, alleging voter fraud without substantial evidence and vowing to fight on. The president’s position has left Washington lawmakers divided, with Republicans backing a legal inquiry into allegations of vote fraud, even as they celebrate other congressional lawmakers who won their races.

When will the dispute be resolved?

The U.S. election won’t be officially certified for weeks. In the meantime, court challenges and state recounts could occur.

So far, the Trump administration has not provided evidence for any fraud that could overturn the result, but there is still time for more legal challenges.

Once states have certified the vote, pledged electors then cast their votes in the Electoral College in mid-December. Congress then certifies the overall Electoral College result in early January, about two weeks before Inauguration Day.