Americans Are Divided On Whether It's Appropriate To Boycott Inauguration

As in past years, most view the event as a politicized celebration.

Americans are divided over whether it’s appropriate that some Democratic lawmakers have decided to skip Friday’s inauguration, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov survey, with a slim plurality calling the boycotts improper.

More than 60 Democratic members of Congress have announced that they won’t be attending the ceremony.

“I will not be celebrating or honoring an incoming president who rode racism, sexism, xenophobia and bigotry to the White House,” Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said last week.

By a 5-point margin, 44 percent to 39 percent, Americans say it’s inappropriate for those politicians to boycott the inauguration.

One-quarter of Americans say the decision to sit out the event improves their opinion of the lawmakers, while 35 percent say it worsens their opinion. The rest are unsure or say it doesn’t affect their view.

Civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) said last week that he doesn’t consider President-elect Donald Trump a “legitimate president,” a view shared by 3 out of 10 Americans. Fifty-five percent say they do consider Trump to be a legitimate president, with the remaining 15 percent saying they’re unsure.

Opinions, unsurprisingly, are divided along partisan lines. Seventy-eight percent of Americans who voted for Hillary Clinton consider the Democratic lawmakers’ decision to be acceptable, but just 4 percent of Trump voters do. 

A 59 percent majority of Clinton voters say they don’t accept Trump as a legitimate president, as do 29 percent of Americans who didn’t vote. 

Use the widget below to further explore the results of HuffPost/YouGov’s survey, using the menu at the top to select survey questions and the buttons at the bottom to filter the data by subgroups:  

Just 37 percent of Americans say they’d attend the inauguration ceremony themselves if they were offered a ticket and cost wasn’t an issue. A 54 percent majority say they’d pass.

Half say they view the event as “a political celebration by the supporters of the candidate who won the 2016 presidential election,” with only 31 percent calling it “a celebration by all Americans of democracy in action.”

But while Trump takes office with exceptionally low public support, neither of those results reflect much of a break from recent precedent. A 2005 Fox News poll found that 57 percent of Americans wouldn’t take a ticket to former President George W. Bush’s second-term inauguration, and a 2009 Pew Research survey found that 56 percent wouldn’t be interested in seeing President Barack Obama sworn in.

A majority viewed Obama’s 2008 inauguration as a celebration of democracy, according to past surveys, but that stands out as an anomaly. Americans viewed both of Bush’s inaugurations, as well as Obama’s second-term inauguration, as decidedly political events.

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Jan. 18-19 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.

The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls.You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. Data from all HuffPost/YouGov polls can be found here. More details on the polls’ methodology are available here.

Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some, but not all, potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample, rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error. 

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Presidential Inaugurations Over The Years