As congressional hearings reveal new testimony about how former President Donald Trump stoked the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol, most Washingtonians say Trump bears heavy responsibility for the violence of that that day, according to a new statewide poll.
But deep partisan divisions persist, with many Republicans denying or downplaying the former president’s guilt and some even saying left-wing activists are more to blame.
In the WA poll of 825 adults, 40% said they followed the televised public hearings of the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack somewhat, while 57% said they did not follow very much. close or not at all.
When asked to rank Trump’s responsibility for the Capitol attack on a scale of 1 to 10 — 10 meaning full responsibility and 1 meaning no responsibility — 56% gave Trump a score of 7 or higher. In contrast, 31% gave Trump a rating of 4 or less.
Those memos largely toed partisan lines, with Democrats and those describing themselves as “very liberal” giving Trump the bulk of the blame. Republicans and conservatives were more likely to attribute little or no responsibility to Trump.
A sizable portion of Republicans in the poll disagreed even that Trump supporters on Capitol Hill, who stormed the building that day, were largely responsible for the attack.
No more blame attributed to ‘left-wing activists who wanted to make Donald Trump look bad’. This sentiment mirrors false claims by some conservative activists and members of Congress, including Representatives Paul Gosar, R-Arizona, and Matt Gaetz, R-Florida, who in the aftermath of Jan. 6 suggested that disguised Antifa activists were infiltrated into the pro-Trump crowd.
The WA poll was conducted by Survey USA between July 6 and July 10. It was sponsored by the Seattle Times, KING 5, the Center for an Informed Public at the University of Washington, and the Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University. Additional polling results on topics such as top issues for voters and election misinformation will be released in the coming days.
National polls have shown growing partisan division over the Jan. 6 attack over time.
A recent Monmouth University poll found that a dwindling share of Republicans now described the events of January 6, 2021 as violent. In June 2021, 33% of Republicans said the attack was an “insurgency,” down from 13% today. And while 62% called it a “riot” last year, it’s now down to just 45%.
Mike Caulfield, a researcher at the UW Center for an Informed Public, said the WA poll results similarly suggest that public agreement about facts about major news events is fading over time as people withdraw into ideological silos.
“Most of the time we exist in a fragmented information environment and sometimes something breaks through, and for a moment or a day we all experience the same reality. This happened to some degree on January 6. May -to be January 7,” he said. “Looking at these numbers, what comes to mind is how quickly, outside of this urgent emergency, we are falling back into our environments of information and start living in these different realities again.”
An overwhelming majority of WA poll respondents — of all political stripes — agreed that the country should learn more about the causes and perpetrators of the Capitol attack and hold those responsible “fully accountable, including criminal prosecution.”
However, 72% of Republicans agreed with the statement that “the government is exaggerating the events of January 6 to justify political persecution of conservatives”. A majority of Democrats and independents disagreed.
In the weeks leading up to January 6, 2021, Trump annoyed his supporters with false claims that he had in fact won the 2020 election, and agitated publicly and behind the scenes in an attempt to derail the peaceful transfer. power to Joe Biden.
Thousands of Trump supporters swarmed the Capitol that day — some chanting to hang Vice President Mike Pence — crushing police and breaking into the building in an attempt to stop traditional voter certification, prompting a lockdown and a delay in voting.
The House Jan. 6 committee, led by Democrats and two Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, has in recent weeks provided dramatic testimony from former Trump White House aides and advisers, revealing Trump’s intent. ex-president to join the march to the Capitol.
It also featured moving testimonies from Georgia election workers whose lives were turned upside down by death threats after Trump and his allies, including Rudy Giuliani, falsely claimed to have inserted fraudulent ballots into the tally.
More detailed testimony has also emerged about Trump’s attempt to use tense legal arguments — rejected even by his White House lawyers — to seize state voting machines and pressure the vice president. Mike Pence to reject final election certification.
The evidence has led Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans to pressure the Justice Department to criminally investigate and indict Trump. The House Select Committee will meet again on July 21 at 8 p.m. EST.
But the revelations were mostly dismissed by Republican leaders and conservative media commentators like Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, who argued the Jan. 6 panel was engaged in a one-sided witch hunt.
That sentiment is shared by some Republican congressional candidates in Washington, including Joe Kent, who is challenging Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler for his vote to impeach Trump over his role in the attack on Capitol Hill.
Kent called those charged in the January 6 attack “political prisoners” and suggested the FBI was behind the riot, promising to investigate if elected.
More than 800 people, including a dozen from Washington, have been charged in the Jan. 6 attack on suspicion of crimes ranging from unlawful entry to assault and seditious conspiracy. More than 300 have pleaded guilty.