74 Percent of Republicans Say They’d Let Trump Be a Dictator For a Day

Just a little authoritarianism as a treat.

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, in Las Vegas.

John Locher/AP

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Roughly two months ago, Donald Trump reminded voters of his authoritarian tendencies when the former president expressed interest in ruling like a dictator on day one of a potential return to the White House. Now a new poll reveals that an overwhelming majority of Republican voters are fine with a one-day dictatorship under Trump.

The survey from the University of Massachusetts Amherst found that 74 percent of Republican voters believe that it’s either “definitely” or “probably” a good idea for Trump to be a dictator for a day. Most Republican voters also believe that Trump, a Florida man facing 91 criminal counts, is innocent of the charges against him. The findings are at once shocking and expected; they fall in line with similar polls reflecting the GOP’s ride-or-die support for the former president. As my colleague Julianne McShane wrote last month, droves of Republicans are standing by Trump despite his well-documented attempts to overturn the 2020 election; 64 percent believed that he was a “person of faith.” 

Republicans today are more likely to be sympathetic to Trump regarding his involvement in the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol, compared to the week after the insurrection, a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll found. Fourteen percent of GOP-identified respondents said last month that Trump bears a great or good amount of responsibility for the deadly insurrection, compared to 27 percent who said the same nearly three years ago. Only 18 percent of Republicans in that survey said the insurrection was “mostly violent,” compared to 26 percent who said so in 2021. (As a reminder, the insurrection led to injuries to approximately 140 police officers.)

Trump has since claimed that his remarks were made in jest. But Republican voters apparently assenting to a one-day dictatorship, real or imagined, are further evidence of the iron-clad grip that Trump has on his supporters and the GOP.

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