Republicans Seek To Distance Themselves From The Mob That Stormed The Capitol: Poll

The willingness of some Republicans to stand at least partially behind the rioters who attacked the U.S. Capitol has dissipated, a HuffPost/YouGov survey finds, with the share saying they approve of the riot or feel personally represented by it smaller than in earlier polling on the incident.

Only 7% of Republicans now say the actions of President ’s supporters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 were mostly right, down from 22% who said the same initially. Also, 41% now say the insurrection was mostly wrong, up from 23% previously.

Just 17% of Republicans say they feel those storming the Capitol represent people like themselves, down 10 percentage points from the previous survey. And just 16% of Republicans say the Capitol rioters represent most Trump supporters, down 18 points.

Rather than defending the mob’s actions, significant numbers of Republicans now distance themselves from the violence, casting blame for it on “antifa” (anti-fascist activists) or left-wing agitators.

A Pew survey that asked Americans to describe their reaction to the rioting in their own words found that 17% of Republicans volunteered their doubt that Trump supporters were responsible, while another YouGov poll found that nearly 7 in 10 Republicans believed antifa was involved.

An Associated Press review of arrest records and social media revealed that the mob was, in fact, “overwhelmingly made up of longtime Trump supporters, including Republican Party officials, GOP political donors, far-right militants, white supremacists, off-duty police, members of the military and adherents of the QAnon myth that the government is secretly controlled by a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophile cannibals.”

At the rally Trump spoke at before the siege, he urged his tens of thousands of listeners to march to the Capitol as he repeated his false claims that the November election he lost to Joe Biden was rigged. Congress was meeting that day to certify Biden’s victory.

The public as a whole remains broadly opposed to the riot that led to the deaths of five people, including a Capitol police officer, the HuffPost/YouGov survey finds. By a 70-point margin, Americans disapprove of those who stormed the Capitol, up from a 56-point margin who said the same last week.  Just 5% of Americans say the actions of the Trump supporters were mostly right, with 23% saying they “went too far, but they have a point,” and 63% that they were mostly wrong.

Seventy-one percent of Americans say the assault was something outside of the norm for U.S. politics, with only 15% saying it was just part of U.S. politics as usual.

Six-in-ten Americans say Trump did not do enough to condemn his supporters for the riot, with just 23% saying that he did. Also, 54% agree that Republican lawmakers did not denounce the rioting strongly enough, with 21% saying they did.

Just more than half of Americans, 51%, say Trump’s rhetoric encourages his supporters to act violently, compared to just 19% who say he discourages such a response. Last week, 43% said Trump encouraged violence, and 28% that he discouraged it.

By a 10-point margin, 50% to 40%, Americans favor Trump’s impeachment and removal from office. The poll was conducted Monday through Wednesday. On Wednesday afternoon, the House voted to impeach Trump on the basis that he incited the insurrection. The Senate will now conduct a trial on whether to convict him, although that will occur after his presidency ends with Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20.   

Slightly below half of Republican and GOP-leaning voters, 47%, now say they believe that most or all congressional Republicans generally support Trump, with 43% saying that he has the support of just some or almost none of his party. 

Among Republican and Republican-leaning independents who voted for Trump in the 2020 election, 37% say they consider themselves more supporters of him than of the Republican Party. (For comparison, a similar-but-not-identical question last August found that 49% of GOP and GOP-leaning voters who supported Trump in 2016 considered themselves primarily supporters of the president.)

Overall, 13% of Americans consider themselves mostly supporters of Trump, with 12% saying they’re mostly supporters of the Republican Party. Another 14% say they support both equally, and 53% say they support neither.

Use the widget below to further explore the results of the HuffPost/YouGov survey, using the menu at the top to select survey questions and the buttons at the bottom to filter the data by subgroups:

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Jan. 11-13 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.

HuffPost has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. More details on the polls’ methodology are available here.

Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some but not all potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.

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