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New poll finds 33 percent of GOP support actions of Jan. 6 rioters

Rioters outside of the U.S. Capitol building
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A third of the Republicans polled in a new survey said they supported the actions of supporters of former President Trump who broke into the Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021.

While the poll by Navigator Research and Global Strategy Group found majorities back the Jan. 6 panel and oppose the actions of those who forced the evacuation of Congress in an effort to stop the count of the Electoral College, it also finds a large minority within the GOP backed those rioters.

The findings underscore the divisions within the GOP over Jan. 6 — a battle that’s likely to shadow election year debates and the early stages of the 2024 presidential race.

A mob of Trump’s supporters that day overran U.S. Capitol Police to enter the Capitol. Some marched across the House and Senate floors as lawmakers were taken to secure locations.

Numerous police officers were injured and five deaths were connected to the riot.

Most Americans do not support those rioting, the poll makes clear.

It found that nearly two-thirds of respondents support the House select committee’s investigation into the Jan. 6 riots and that 71 percent overall oppose the storming of the U.S. Capitol last year.

When broken down by party, 84 percent of Democratic respondents opposed the actions of the protesters, while 13 percent supported them and 3 percent were not sure.

Among Republicans, 58 percent opposed the attack on the U.S. Capitol while 33 percent backed it and 9 percent said they were not sure.

Just 40 percent of Republicans polled back the Jan. 6 panel compared to 51 percent who do not.

Two Republicans sit on the Jan. 6 panel — Reps. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) — but they have faced scorn from former President Trump and his allies over their decision.

The poll found that 54 percent of respondents support the Department of Justice filing criminal charges against Trump for his alleged role in the Jan. 6 rioting. 

Over the course of its hearings, the House panel says it will make the case that Trump was directly responsible for the Capitol attack.

Trump has denied any responsibility for Jan. 6, releasing a 12-page document this week refuting the allegations made against him.

The panel’s hearings so far have illuminated the devastation of the attacks on Jan. 6 and how pro-Trump supporters were inspired by the former president’s claims that the 2020 election was stolen.

Congress played videos of rioters engaged in deadly combat with police at the Capitol. They also showed evidence that far-right militia group leaders from the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers met secretly ahead of Jan. 6.

Hearings this week have focused on the panel’s evidence showing members of Trump’s inner circle knew the election was not rigged and did not contain widespread fraud.

The hearings come as the U.S. struggles with a 40-year high in inflation, a potential rollback of abortion rights and a spate of mass shootings. Still, nearly two-thirds of Americans have heard “a lot” or at least “some” about the ongoing hearings and 52 percent believe Congress should focus on what happened on Jan. 6 as well as other issues, according to the new poll.

Sixty-four percent of Republicans say Congress should focus on other issues in the country.

According to the poll, about 44 percent of Americans describe the Jan. 6 rioters as “power hungry” and “appealing to their right-wing, extremist base,” while 30 percent also describe them as “dangerous,” and a quarter say they are “treasonous.”

Most Americans, or 47 percent, view Trump’s Make America Great Again (MAGA) wing of the GOP as “unfavorable,” but 64 percent of Republicans agree with the description of them as “favorable.”

The Navigator Research and Global Strategy Group poll was conducted between June 9 and June 13 among 998 registered voters. 

Updated on June 21 at 1:34 p.m.

Tags Adam Kinzinger Capitol attack Capitol breach Capitol insurrection Capitol riot Donald Trump Jan. 6 Capitol riot Jan. 6 Committee Jan. 6 hearings Liz Cheney

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