Poll: 18 percent of Republicans support Capitol riots

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Approximately 18 percent of Republicans support the pro-Trump rioters who stormed the Capitol on Wednesday in opposition to Congress’s certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s win, according to a PBS NewsHour/Marist poll released Friday. 

The survey, which polled more than 800 adults the day after the riots, also found that despite some support among GOP members, most Americans, approximately 88 percent, either opposed or strongly opposed the mob’s actions. 

Additionally, those surveyed were divided in their opinions on the level of President Trump’s responsibility in the riots, with 63 percent of those surveyed saying Trump deserves “a great deal or good amount of blame” for Wednesday’s events. Among Republicans, 69 percent believe Trump is “at little or no fault.”

Trump encouraged his supporters at a rally earlier in the day Wednesday to march to the Capitol and challenge Congress’s vote, repeating his disputed claims that the election was “stolen” from him and that there was widespread voter fraud.

Among those included in Friday’s poll, 48 percent joined calls from some lawmakers for the president to be removed from office, while 49 percent opposed such a move. 

Among independents, about 51 percent believe Trump should remain in office with less than two weeks to go until Biden’s inauguration. 

Despite this division, a substantial majority, 90 percent, believe the perpetrators of the riot, which saw participants breaking through windows of the Capitol and ransacking offices, should be prosecuted for their actions. 

There has also been increased scrutiny around the Capitol Police’s response to the events, with 56 percent of survey respondents believing that police were “not aggressive enough” in dealing with the rioters. 

Several injuries have been reported since Wednesday’s events, and five people died amid the chaos, including a woman who was shot by a Capitol Police officer and an officer who died after suffering injuries while responding to the rioting. Both fatalities are under investigation.

Lee Miringoff, director of The Marist Poll, said in a statement along with Friday’s survey said “there is a consensus across party lines that the divisions that exist pose a threat to our democracy,” with 81 percent of those surveyed agreeing with this sentiment. 

“But, Americans also believe we will dig ourselves out of this crisis, and the democracy will survive,” Miringoff added, as more than 7 in 10 of those surveyed say they still believe in the strength of American democracy. 

The PBS/Marist poll reported a 4.8 percentage point margin of error.

Tags American democracy Capitol breach Capitol riot Congress Donald Trump Joe Biden marist poll PBS NewsHour

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