In January of this year, the U.S. Capitol was violently stormed amid efforts to overturn the defeat of Donald J. Trump in the 2020 presidential election against former VP Joe Biden. Ahead of the riot, Trump and several of his most prominent supporters had publicly reiterated false claims about the veracity of the election results, which ultimately showed that the former Apprentice host lost to Biden by more than seven million votes.
The bent toward disinformation at the root of the riot, of course, has persisted in the months since the fatal insurrection. In a recent poll conducted by Reuters and the market research company Ipsos, for example, about half of self-described Republicans were confirmed to remain convinced the fatal riot was “a non-violent protest” or was part of an effort to “make Trump look bad.”
Furthermore, six in 10 Republicans—per the poll conducted on Mar. 30 and Mar. 31—believe (despite such a thing being demonstrably false) the 2020 election was “stolen” from Trump by way of voter fraud. Six in 10 Republicans also believe Trump, who was permanently suspended from Twitter days after the Capitol riot, should again vie for the presidency in 2024.
Elsewhere in the poll, just three in 10 Republicans said they believe Trump bears at least some responsibility for the deadly Capitol invasion, while eight in 10 Republicans still “hold a favorable impression” of Trump. More specifically, 11 percent of Republicans said they strongly agree that Trump is at least partly to blame for starting the riot and 17 percent of Republicans said they somewhat agree.
The sample for this study included 451 Democrats, 379 Republicans, and 119 independents with weighting added for demographics balance. For a summary of the topline findings from the poll, available to peep in greater detail here, see below:
“A new Reuters/Ipsos poll finds that most Americans agree that former president Donald Trump was partly to blame for the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, and 61 percent agree that he should not run for president again in 2024. However, support for Trump among his Republican base remains strong as 55 percent of Republicans believe his 2020 election loss resulted from illegal voting or election rigging. Paradoxically, 35 percent of Republicans agreed with both of the following theories: that the people who gathered at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 were peaceful, law-abiding Americans and that it was actually led by violent left-wing protestors trying to make Trump look bad. To that end, 81 percent of Republicans still view Trump favorably. Of the other Republican political figures asked about, Republicans were most familiar with Mitt Romney and Ted Cruz, yet favorability for both of these figures is not as high as for Donald Trump. Sixty-one percent view Ted Cruz favorably, and only 38 percent favor Mitt Romney. Finally, when it comes to voting rights, 81 percent of Americans believe it is important for the government to make it easier to vote, but 74 percent also think it’s important that new limits are set to protect elections from fraud.”
Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Proud Boys, and Oath Keepers were sued in February by the NAACP over the Capitol riot. The suit, filed by the NAACP and the Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll law firm, argued that Trump and others should be “held accountable for deliberately inciting and colluding with white supremacists to stage a coup.”
In a recent Fox News interview, Trump described the fatal Capitol violence as posing “zero threat” while also—without evidence—claiming that rioters were actually hugging and kissing police officials.