As the U.S. nears the one-year anniversary of the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol building, new polling finds a majority of Americans continue to blame former President Donald Trump for the insurrection and hold negative views of the rioters — and many believe the event could be a harbinger for more violence and democracy failing.
A 32% plurality of respondents in a NPR/Ipsos poll conducted December 17-20 believe January 6 was an “attempted coup or insurrection,” while 28% say it was a riot that got out of control and 17% believe it was a conspiracy carried out by Trump’s political enemies.
A 64% majority of poll respondents believe American democracy is “in crisis and at risk of failing,” while 70% believe the same about America itself.
17% of respondents in a CBS News/YouGov poll conducted December 27-30 approved of the rioters—though that’s up from 13% in January 2021—and a 54% majority in a Washington Post/University of Maryland poll conducted December 17-19 said they were mostly violent.
Approximately 60% of respondents in Post, Morning Consult and ABC News/Ipsos polls believe Trump bears at least some responsibility for the events on January 6—though the percentage in the Post poll who say he bears no responsibility went down from 28% to 24%.
24% of NPR/Ipsos respondents said it’s “sometimes” warranted to “engage in violence to protect American democracy,” including 32% of Trump voters, and the Post poll found 34% believe violence can be justified against the government—the highest share recorded since polling on that question started in 1995.
Republicans were unsurprisingly more likely than Democrats to play down January 6: 56% of Republicans in the CBS poll said the event was about “defending freedom,” versus 85% of Democrats who said it was an insurrection or attempt to overthrow the government, and a 42% plurality of Republican respondents said they only “somewhat” disapproved of the rioters.
65%. That’s the share of NPR/Ipsos respondents who said they accept the outcome of the 2020 presidential election—which NPR notes is “virtually unchanged” from a year ago—though that includes less than half of Republicans, Trump voters and those who mostly consume conservative news media and Fox News. Less than half (48%) of respondents said they believe there was either no or very little voter fraud, however, and 52% of Trump voters and 45% of Republicans falsely believe there was widespread voter fraud that changed the election result—something for which there is no evidence to support.
A 62% majority of respondents in the CBS/YouGov poll predicted there will be violence in response to future elections, and 68% said January 6 was a sign of “increasing political violence.”