Nearly half of Americans think some GOP lawmakers encouraged violence

Fred Backus

For many Americans, the GOP lawmakers who objected to counting the Electoral College votes in Congress share some of the blame for the violence that occurred at the nation's Capitol. Nearly half — 47% — think some of these Republicans encouraged the violence that occurred.

Most of those who hold these lawmakers responsible think there should be political consequences for their actions. Sixty-five percent of Americans who think they encouraged violence at the Capitol think they should be removed from office, and another 22% think they should be punished in some other way. Just 13% think there should be no action taken against them.

But most of the rank-and-file members of the Republican Party see things differently, which highlights some of the political calculations some of these GOP lawmakers may be negotiating as they respond to recent events. Just one in five Republicans think these lawmakers were in part responsible for encouraging violence; most think they had no impact on that event.

Republicans are also more accepting of the reasons these lawmakers gave for their objections to counting the Electoral vote. More than seven in 10 Republicans think these lawmakers had real concerns about the voting process in particular states, while most Democrats and independents think they were either trying to overturn the election process in order to maintain the Trump presidency, or that they were trying to appeal to Trump voters.

And there is evidence that the actions of these Republican lawmakers in challenging the 2020 results may be rewarded by members of their own party, if not by voters overall. While most registered voters would be more likely to support a candidate for Congress who had accepted the 2020 presidential election results in Congress, most Republican voters say they would be more likely to vote for a congressional candidate who tried to overturn the 2020 results.

This is even more true of lawmakers when it comes to the impeachment of President Trump. Ahead of today's vote, nearly nine in 10 Republicans said they would be more likely in the future to back a candidate who opposed the impeachment of Donald Trump.

This CBS News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,521 U.S. residents interviewed between January 11-12, 2021. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, as well as the 2020 presidential vote and registration status. The margin of error is +/- 2.9 points.

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