A new CBS poll asked Americans about their thoughts on the January 6th Capitol riots in the context of Congress getting ready to launch an investigation into the attack. According to the poll, 72% of Americans think there is more to learn about the events of that day whereas only 28% of people say we know all there is to know. Republicans specifically are not viewing the event as seriously as they did in the days after the insurrection. Back in January, 51% of Republicans strongly disapproved of the Capitol riots, but six months later, only 39% strongly disapprove. Trump voters are way off in how they view January 6th as compared to the general population. Sixty-seven percent of Americans overall believe the riots were done to try to overturn the 2020 election, whereas only 32% of Trump supporters believe that was the goal. When it comes to calling the event an “insurrection,” 56% of Americans agree with that framing, but only 20% of Trump voters would call it that.
This data show us quite a lot about the divide between the American left and right. Sixty-six percent of the country believes US democracy is being threatened, although both Democrats and Republicans would say it is for very different reasons. Democrats think it is because Donald Trump and Republicans did everything they could to overturn an election they clearly lost. Many Republican voters think democracy is under threat because they have been convinced that the election was rigged by Joe Biden and the Democrats. It’s also quite telling that the right-wing view on the Capitol riots is being whitewashed so effectively. The numbers show that over time, Republicans are viewing the attack less seriously. This means that they are being convinced by Donald Trump, who never saw it as that big of a deal and, in fact, on that day called the rioters “patriots” and told them “we love you.” It took a little while for right-wing politicians and media figures to get behind this message, but they eventually did, and now it is being reflected in the polling.
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