NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist National Poll: The January 6th Hearings, July 2022

Trump Should Be but Won’t Be Charged with Crimes Relating to January 6th, Say Many Americans… Inflation Towers over January 6th as Number-One Voting Issue

With looming concerns about the state of American democracy, a majority of Americans blame former President Donald Trump for the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, and half say Trump should face criminal charges. However, more than six in ten Americans (61%) do not think Trump will actually be charged. While a majority of Americans are paying, at least some, attention to the House January 6th hearings, inflation is top of mind for U.S. voters as they look toward November’s midterm elections.

Criminal Charges for Trump?
Based on what you have seen or heard about the January 6th Congressional committee hearings, do you think former president Trump will be charged with crimes?
Source: NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll National Adults. Interviews conducted July 11th through July 17th, 2022, n=1,160 MOE +/- 4.1 percentage points. Totals may not add to 100% due to rounding.
  • Fifty-seven percent of Americans, up from 53% in January, say former President Donald Trump deserves, at least, a good amount of the blame for what happened at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, 2021.

  • Half of Americans (50%) think former President Donald Trump should be charged with crimes based on the evidence presented at the House January 6th hearings, but only 28% of U.S. adults think he will face criminal charges. Driven by Republicans (87%), 45% of U.S. residents do not think Trump should be charged with crimes.

  • Nearly six in ten Americans (58%) are paying either a lot of attention (25%) or some attention (33%) to the House January 6th hearings. Democrats (80%) are the most plugged into the testimony. 55% of independents and 44% of Republicans are also paying, at least, some attention to the hearings.

  • The hearings, though, have failed to punch through as a voting issue. Inflation (37%) is the number-one issue for registered voters as they think about November’s midterm elections. Abortion (18%), guns (10%), and health care (10%) follow. The January 6th Committee Hearings (9%), crime (6%), and immigration (6%) receive single digits. Inflation is the top issue for Republicans (57%) and independents (42%). There is less consensus among Democrats for whom abortion (29%) tops the list followed by the January 6th hearings (17%), guns and health care each with 15%, and inflation (14%).

  • 50% of Americans – including 86% of Democrats, 52% of independents, and 12% of Republicans consider the events of January 6, 2021 to be an insurrection and a threat to democracy. 19% say it was a political protest protected under the First Amendment, and 25% say it is an unfortunate, past incident and is not cause for future worry. Among Republicans, 40% say the event was a political protest, and an additional 40% perceive it to be an unfortunate, past event.

"Although inflation is a top concern for a plurality of Americans, including 57% of Republicans and 42% of independents, the issues which are percolating below are abortion, guns, health care, and the January 6th hearings," says Lee M. Miringoff, Director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. "The combination of these other issues resonates with 44% of independents and 76% of Democrats."

Democracy Under Siege?

Despite the lack of consensus about what occurred at the U.S. Capitol, 77% of Americans say the issues that divide the nation pose a serious threat to the future of democracy.

Favorability Ratings: Trump, Pence, Cheney, & DeSantis

Eighteen months after he left office, 38% of Americans have a favorable opinion of former President Donald Trump, comparable to the 39% score he received in April. Trump remains popular among Republicans (83%) and garners the likeability of about one in three independents (33%).

37% of adults nationally have a favorable impression of former Vice President Mike Pence. Pence receives the favor of 62% of Republicans.

U.S. Representative Liz Cheney receives a 34% favorability score but is little known to 23% of Americans. 43% have an unfavorable opinion of Cheney. Cheney’s favorable rating among Republicans is 13% but is 60% among Democrats.

About one in three Americans (33%) have a favorable view of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, including 63% of Republicans. DeSantis also has low name recognition among Americans. 28% have either never heard of DeSantis or are unsure how to rate him. 39% of adults nationally hold an unfavorable view of DeSantis.