The findings come as the US House Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack will hold the first of six public hearings Thursday night in primetime. Sixty-five percent of voters support the House investigation, while only 28% oppose it, according to a new Courier Newsroom/Data for Progress poll.
Nearly 18 months after supporters of former President Donald Trump launched a deadly siege on the US Capitol and tried to overturn the 2020 election results, polling shows that voters remain concerned about the long-term impact of the Jan. 6 attack–and want accountability.
A new Courier Newsroom/Data for Progress poll finds that 61% of likely voters are “very” or “somewhat” concerned that Trump Republicans will promote violence to achieve political goals in future elections. Another 10% are a “little concerned” about the possibility. Only 29% of voters say they’re not concerned at all.
The findings come as the US House Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack will hold the first of six public hearings Thursday night in primetime.
The hearings are expected to delve into many different aspects of the investigation, including Trump’s promotion of the “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was stolen, his attempt to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to illegally throw out electoral votes for then President-elect Joe Biden, his calls for supporters to assemble in Washington D.C. to “Stop the Steal,” and his failure to call off the violence for more than three hours after the attack on the Capitol began.
Trump’s Republican allies have tried to dismiss the hearings and the House investigation as political gamesmanship, but voters aren’t buying it. Roughly two-thirds of voters (65%) support the House investigation, while 28% oppose it.
The survey also found that most voters blame Trump for what happened on Jan. 6 and believe he should be held accountable.
- When reminded of what happened in the weeks leading up to Jan. 6, 57% of voters said Trump bears “a lot” or “some” responsibility for the attack. Twenty-nine percent said he bears no responsibility at all.
- Fifty-six percent of voters believe individuals and groups—including elected officials like then-president Trump—who helped fuel the attack should be held criminally responsible for what happened that day.
The hearings are also expected to highlight efforts by Trump’s allies to help keep him in office or return him to office after Biden was inaugurated.
Since Election Day 2020, Republican lawmakers across the country have tried to discredit or overturn the election results. While Biden handily won Virginia, all four Virginia Republicans in the US House voted to overturn the 2020 election results.
Meanwhile, Democrat and US Congressional Rep. Elaine Luria (VA-02) was named to the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol. The committee took on the task of investigating and reporting both the facts and the causes of the attack. It also looked into ways to prevent future attacks.
At the time of her appointment to the committee in July 2021, Luria, who served for two decades in the US Navy, noted that deliving into what happened on Jan. 6 shouldn’t be a “partisan thing.”
“I hope that this committee can come together, can accomplish that mission together, and we can leave behind any of that veil of partisanship at the door because these are answers that the American people need and deserve about why this happened in our county,” Luria said in part. “And getting to the bottom of it is really the first step in making sure that it can’t happen again.”
Even more insidious have been the actions of state lawmakers.
A recent New York Times analysis of nine key swing states found that 357 sitting Republican politicians—amounting to 44% of all Republican legislators across the nine states—have used the power of their office to discredit or try to overturn the 2020 election results.
In multiple states won by President Joe Biden, more than 70% of Republican lawmakers—under pressure from former President Trump—took such actions, which include attempts to delay the vote count, support for lawsuits intended to overturn the election, support for sending alternate slates of electors to Congress (to override the will of voters), and attempts to manually decertify election results—an idea that is actually impossible, according to experts.
Legislators in Virginia didn’t face the same kind of pressure since it wasn’t an especially close contest.
Fifty-six percent of voters oppose these efforts, while 33% support them. However, a majority of Republicans polled (54%) approve of such proposals, highlighting the lasting and corrosive impact of the “Big Lie.”
While Republicans have repeatedly cried voter fraud, they’ve failed to provide legitimate proof to back up their claims, and an enormous body of evidence shows there was no widespread fraud during the election.
That didn’t stop Virginia Republican legislators from sewing seeds of doubt. Dogwood reported that on Nov. 6, 2020, Virginia Congressman Ben Cline (R-Fincastle) wrote to then-Attorney General William Barr citing unfounded “widespread reports of irregularities, particularly in the vote counting process.” He asked the US Department of Justice what they were doing to use their resources to “ensure the integrity of the voting and counting process.” He also asked them to remain committed to “ensure that only legal votes are being counted and being counted in a fully transparent way.”
Virginia state Sen. Amanda Chase from Midlothian, Del. Dave LaRock from Loudoun County, Del. John McGuire from Henrico, and now-Del. Marie March from Christiansburg, all Republicans, attended the “Stop the Steal” rally. Chase later referred to insurrectionists as “patriots.” LaRock posted unfounded conspiracy theories surrounding Biden’s Electoral College win, and also suggested there were “paid provocateurs” who infiltrated the mob that stormed the Capitol.
While efforts behind the “Big Lie” have repeatedly failed, they’ve achieved a destructive impact on Republicans’ faith in elections. A majority of Republican voters now do not believe Biden was legitimately elected, despite ample evidence to the contrary. Furthermore, supporting Trump’s “Big Lie” has become a litmus test among Republican base voters. The former president has spent much of the past year endorsing candidates who embraced his lies and discredited his 2020 loss.
Prior to Election Day for the Virginia 2021 governor’s race, Trump noted in an e-mailed statement through the Save America Political Action Committee that Youngkin was “a good man, a hardworking man, a successful man.” In the same email, Trump expressed that he was “not a believer in the integrity of Virginia’s elections, lots of bad things went on, and are going on.”
It’s still a toss-up as to whether repeating the false narratives about 2020 will hurt or help Republicans’ electoral prospects with more moderate voters and independents.
Slightly more than half of voters polled (51%) viewed the siege at the Capitol and the continued claims that the election was stolen as attacks on the country. Conversely, 39% said the events of Jan. 6 were the result of “legitimate concerns” about the election and were not an attack on the US.
Further underscoring the uncertainty ahead, 50% of voters said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who still claims the 2020 election was rigged, and 46% said they’d be less likely to vote for a candidate who worked to overturn the 2020 election.
Roughly one in 5 voters said they’d be more likely to vote for a candidate who continues to argue the election was rigged or has taken steps to put Trump back in office.
Methodology: From May 27 to 31, 2022, Data for Progress conducted a survey of 1,220 likely voters nationally using web panel respondents. The sample was weighted to be representative of likely voters by age, gender, education, race, and voting history. The survey was conducted in English. The margin of error is ±3 percentage points. N=1,220 unless otherwise specified. Some values may not add up to 100 due to rounding.