Public opinion relatively unchanged after Jan. 6 hearings: poll

Recent public hearings held by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol have done little to sway public opinion, according to a new survey from the Monmouth University Poll.

The poll, which was conducted after the committee’s final hearing in its summer series, found that Americans’ views toward former President Trump and his culpability for Jan. 6 remained relatively unchanged from past polling.

Thirty-eight percent of respondents thought former President Trump was directly responsible for Jan. 6, compared to 42 percent who said so in June just before a hearing that featured explosive testimony from White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson.

Hutchinson testified in the committee’s sixth of eight hearings held in recent weeks, each of which provided a trickle of details that sought to tie Trump to the attack on the Capitol, including testimony from state officials as well as Trump’s family and inner circle.

But after those hearings, 32 percent of respondents said Trump did nothing wrong regarding Jan. 6, compared to 30 percent who gave that response in June. Just 5 percent of Republicans view Trump as directly responsible, according to the poll.

“The sensational revelations during the hearings do not seem to have moved the public opinion needle on Trump’s culpability for either the riot or his spurious election fraud claims,” said Patrick Murray, Monmouth University Polling Institute’s director.

“This continues to give political cover to Republican leaders who avoid addressing the damage done to our democratic processes that day,” he added.

The poll found that 29 percent of respondents, including roughly 6 in 10 Republicans, believe President Biden only won the 2020 election due to voter fraud, figures that were unchanged from Monmouth’s June poll and similar to the institute’s poll conducted before the House committee was formed.

Four in 10 respondents said they would definitely or probably vote for Trump if he decides to run again in 2024. Trump has been weighing whether to soon announce a third bid for the White House, but many Republicans have publicly urged him to wait until after the midterm elections.

Meanwhile, Trump has stumped for his endorsed candidates around the country. Those candidates have seen mixed success, but the former president has had a series of recent wins, including primary victories by the Trump-backed Kari Lake and Blake Masters in Arizona last week.

Trump’s favorability rating is virtually unchanged from November 2020, standing at 40 percent, including 8 in 10 Republicans surveyed holding a positive view of the former president, according to the poll.

“As we have seen from the success of Trump-endorsed candidates in recent primaries, he continues to hold sway over a large portion of the Republican base,” said Murray. “That doesn’t necessarily make him a shoe-in for the nomination in 2024, but he remains a formidable presence.”

The poll was conducted between July 28 and Aug. 1 through telephone interviews with 808 U.S. adults. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

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