January 3, 2022
NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist National Poll: One Year Since the Unrest at the U.S. Capitol, January 2022
Investigation into the U.S. Capitol Unrest Appropriate, Say Many Americans... Plurality Considers It an Insurrection
Nearly one year after a crowd of people entered the U.S. Capitol and disrupted the certification of the 2020 presidential election, more than six in ten Americans (62%) think the investigation into the day’s events is appropriate and not a witch hunt (35%). However, not all Americans are ready to call what happened on January 6, 2021 an “insurrection.” Deep partisan divisions continue to underscore impressions of what happened at the U.S. Capitol on that fateful day.
A plurality of Americans (49%) consider the events of January 6, 2021 to be an insurrection and a threat to U.S. democracy. 25% believe it was a political protest protected under the First Amendment. 19% say the incident was unfortunate but does not have implications for the future.
Political divisions underscore perceptions of the incident at the U.S. Capitol. Democrats (89%) overwhelmingly consider it to be an insurrection while a plurality of Republicans (45%) say it was a political protest. An additional 35% of Republicans think it was unfortunate but is not something to worry about in the future.
A majority of Americans, 53%, down from 58% in mid-January 2021, blame former President Donald Trump for what happened at the U.S. Capitol.
While 55% of Americans think political tensions in their community have stayed about the same in the last year, 39% believe those tensions have intensified. Only 4% think they have become less extreme.
Most Americans (78%) think the issues that divide the nation pose a serious threat to democracy. Rare partisan agreement exists.
"Both Democrats and Republicans believe that U.S. democracy is under threat," says Lee M. Miringoff, Director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. "But they overwhelmingly disagree over the meaning of the events of January 6th and the motivation behind the investigation into the events of that day."