Capitol Riots

Most Americans want the people who invaded the Capitol to be prosecuted

Perfect propaganda: few Republicans believe Donald Trump is responsible

One survey from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, found that about one in ten supporters of the GOP blame either the Republican Party or Mr Trump for the riot


The US House of Representatives voted on May 19th to create an independent commission to investigate the invasion of the Capitol building on January 6th. Members voted 252 in favor of, and 175 against, the commission, which was inspired in part by a similar body that investigated the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Every Democratic member voted in favor of the bill.

They were joined by 35 of their 211 Republican colleagues, who ignored orders from Kevin McCarthy, the leader of the party’s caucus in the House, to vote down the bill. It now heads to the Senate, where Republican lawmakers were threatening to filibuster it to halt its passage on May 27th.

Most Americans support Congress in establishing the inquiry, according to a new poll from YouGov and The Economist. The survey of 1,500 adults, conducted between May 22nd and 25th, found that 56% “somewhat” or “strongly” approve of the commission. Just 29% oppose it.

There is even stronger support for prosecuting the rioters through the judiciary: 59% of adults told YouGov they agreed with prosecuting Donald Trump's supporters who participated “in the takeover of the Capitol building”.

Among people who call themselves Democrats, 82% support prosecution, as do 56% of independents. Of Republicans 39% agree (see left-hand chart), thought slightly more (43%) say that the insurrectionists should not be prosecuted.

At first blush, the approval ratings among Republicans for the commission and prosecution seem relatively high, considering the opposition of Mr Trump, the de facto leader of the party, and most of its elected representatives.

But other polling reveals starker opposition among right-leaning voters.

One survey from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, found that about one in ten supporters of the GOP blame either the Republican Party or Mr Trump for the riot.

Roughly one in every five Republican voters blame “Antifa”—a catch-all term common in conservative networks for progressive protesters and other more violent demonstrators—and nearly one out of every three blame the Democratic Party.

These data raise a troubling puzzle for supporters of liberal democracy and free elections in America: how can the government effectively combat an attempted insurrection if one party’s leaders and voters don’t even acknowledge the facts of the case?

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