Five takeaways from polls marking Jan. 6 anniversary

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  • Donald Trump
    Donald Trump
    45th President of the United States


Close to a year since supporters of former President Trump ransacked the Capitol and tried to stop Congress from certifying the 2020 presidential election, the United States remains divided over how to make sense of the violent events.

Polls conducted in recent days show disagreement over how Americans characterize the events, what language they use in describing those who stormed the Capitol and how much responsibility to put on Trump for the events that unfolded that day.

The one-year anniversary will be marked on Thursday, an event that has continued to drive a partisan wedge between Republicans and Democrats but has also divided members of the Republican Party.

However, a majority of Americans appear to agree about a few things, according to the recent polls, such as condemning those who participated in the riot and placing at least some of the responsibility with Trump for the violence on that day.

Below is a roundup of takeaways from the polls gauging Americans' attitudes toward the Jan. 6 insurrection.

A majority believe those participating in the riot were threatening democracy

In an ABC News-Ipsos survey published on Sunday, 72 percent of Americans polled said those who participated in the riot were mostly threatening democracy. But about a quarter of respondents said the opposite - that those engaging in the Jan. 6 attack were mostly protecting democracy.

About 58 percent of those polled also said Trump bore a good amount or great deal of responsibility for the Jan. 6 riot, while 41 percent said he bore no responsibility or just some.

The poll showed a partisan divide among how those involved in the Jan. 6 riot were viewed: 52 percent of Republicans believed that those involved in the attack on the Capitol were protecting democracy, while 45 percent said they were threatening democracy.

Comparatively, 96 percent of Democrats felt those who participated in the riot were threatening democracy.

Belief that violence against the government is sometimes justified is rising

A Washington Post-University of Maryland poll published on Saturday found that one-third of Americans believe citizens engaging in violence against the government could sometimes be justified.

Split along partisan lines, 40 percent of Republicans said violent actions could be justified, compared to 23 percent of Democrats and 41 percent of independents.

Those who said that violent actions could be merited cited reasons such as the government violating or taking away people's rights or freedoms, a potential military takeover, or the collapse of democracy.

That percentage was an increase from those who answered similarly in a poll from October 2015, when 23 percent of those polled said the same. In April 2010 and January 2011, 16 percent of respondents said the same.

Americans are divided over how to refer those involved Jan. 6 riot

A University of Massachusetts Amherst poll published last week showed a partisan divide in how Americans describe the participants of the Jan. 6 attack.

While more than two-thirds of Democrats called those who participated in the riot "insurrectionists," "white nationalists" and "rioters," 62 percent of Republicans called them "protesters."

A CBS News poll published on Sunday found that while 85 percent of Democrats polled called the Jan. 6 attack an attempt to overthrow the government and an insurrection, only 21 percent of Republicans called it an insurrection.

A majority of Americans are concerned about rising political violence

The CBS News poll also found that a majority of Americans do not see the Jan. 6 riot as an isolated event.

Sixty-eight percent of Americans polled believe the Jan. 6 riot was not an isolated event and believe it is pointing toward more political violence. However, a portion of Americans - 33 percent - believe the Jan. 6 riot is an isolated circumstance.

Pollsters found that an overwhelming majority of Democrats - 81 percent - said they strongly disapprove of the events at the Capitol, with 34 percent of Republicans in agreement.

Republicans are evenly divided over the House committee investigating Jan. 6

A Politico-Morning Consult poll released on Sunday painted a divided picture of how Republicans view the House select committee tasked with investigating the insurrection at the Capitol.

It found that 44 percent of Republicans oppose the committee to some degree, while 40 percent somewhat or strongly support it. Comparatively, 82 percent of Democrats support the committee, and 61 percent of all registered voters polled approve of the House panel.

But the poll also found that support for the panel dropped once it was noted that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) nominated the committee's members.

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