PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll Results & Analysis: Insurrection at the Capitol

Americans Divide About Removing Trump from Office, Most Say Capitol Hill Rioters Should be Prosecuted

More than six in ten Americans place blame for Wednesday’s insurgency at the U.S. Capitol squarely on President Donald Trump. Yet, residents divide about whether or not Trump should be ousted from office before his term is up. Widespread condemnation for the insurgency exists among Americans, and most say the perpetrators should be prosecuted.

Remove Trump From Office?
Do you think steps should or should not be taken to remove President Trump from office before his term is up?
Source: PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll National Adults. Interviews conducted January 7, 2021, n=875 MOE +/- 4.8% percentage points.
  • 48% of Americans think steps should be taken to remove Trump from office before his term expires. 49% disagree. Partisan differences underscore opinions. A slim majority of independents (51%) report Trump should remain in office.

  • 63% say Trump deserves a great deal or good amount of blame for what transpired at the Capitol. Of note, 69% of Republicans, including 51% who say he deserves no blame at all, say the president is at little or no fault.

  • Most Americans (88%) either oppose or strongly oppose Wednesday’s insurgency. Partisan consensus exists. Though, 18% of the GOP say they support the riots.

  • 72% report the actions of pro-Trump supporters at the Capitol were unlawful and not legitimate protests (23%). Republicans divide.

  • 90% say the perpetrators should be prosecuted. 17% of Republicans disagree.

  • 56% think the police were not aggressive enough in dealing with the trespassers.

President Trump’s job approval rating stands at 38% among Americans. 58% disapprove. Last month, Trump received a 43% job approval rating with 52% saying they disapproved. 26% of Americans say they strongly approve of how Trump is doing his job while 51% strongly disapprove. This is the first time a majority has held this view.

“The final days of the Trump Administration find the nation distraught over the attack on the Capitol and believe those who took part should be prosecuted,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist Poll. “But, doubts about the accuracy of the election results have created a major schism among rank and file Republicans about the legitimacy of the siege of the Capitol.”

Americans are more positive about how President-elect Joe Biden is performing. 48% approve of how he is doing, and 37% disapprove. 15% are unsure. Nearly one in five Republicans and independents are unsure.

Other Findings

Confidence in the Results of the 2020 Election

Nearly two in three Americans (64%) consider the results of the 2020 presidential election to be accurate. 35% do not. In December, 61% and 34%, respectively, held these views. While Democrats (97%) and independents (63%) are more likely to have confidence in the election results, 72% of Republicans view the election results as inaccurate.

The Future of the American Democracy

Americans are concerned about the state of the nation. 81% of U.S. residents think the issues that divide the nation pose a serious threat to the future of the democracy. Partisan consensus exists.

However, more than seven in ten Americans believe in the strength of the nation’s democracy. 72% report the democracy will survive while a notable 21% think it will perish. 85% of Democrats, 63% of Republicans, and 69% of independents think democracy will endure. Of note, though a smaller proportion, a majority of Americans who do not think the 2020 presidential election results were accurate (53%) say the U.S. democracy will endure.