Voters for former President Donald Trumps are more convinced than ever that his behavior during the Capitol uprising was neither worthy of impeachment nor even inappropriate, according to a HuffPost / YouGov poll.
The recent impeachment trial was filled with never-before-seen videos of pro-Trump rioters breaking into the Capitol on January 6, highlighting the danger they posed to key congressional leaders and Vice President Mike Pence. The videos were associated with Trumps’ own comments promoting lies that the 2020 election was stolen from him, targeting Pence and encouraging his supporters at a rally just before the siege to fight on his behalf.
In the aftermath of the Jan.6 attack, Trump supporters distanced themselves from the crowd, with most Republicans saying they disapproved of the rioters’ actions and did not believe they represented his supporters as a whole. However, such disavowals do not extend to Trump, whose actions are viewed by most of his voters as entirely acceptable.
Of those who voted for Trump in the November election, 60% now say his behavior on the day of the riot was appropriate, according to the poll, which took place days after the Senate voted to acquit Trump for inciting insurrection. Thirty percent of those voters say his behavior was inappropriate but not an impenetrable offense, with just 3% calling it inaccessible.
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP via Getty Images Then-President Donald Trump at a re-election campaign rally in Bemidji, Minnesota, September 18, 2020.
In contrast, a survey conducted earlier this month as the trial began found that 49% of Trump’s voters called his behavior appropriate, 36% described it as inappropriate and 4% said it was ungodly.
More than half of Trump’s voters, 55%, say they believe the rhetoric of former presidents discourages his supporters from acting violently, with just 5% saying he encourages violence; 64% say Trump did enough to specifically condemn the assault on Capitol Hill. These responses are largely unchanged from the start of the Senate trial.
Public sentiment as a whole is considerably different. Of all Americans, 45% say Trumps’ conduct on January 6 was flawless, 18% said it was inappropriate but not impassible, and 24% said his conduct was appropriate.
About half of Americans, 52%, say Trump hasn’t done enough to condemn his supporters for storming Capitol Hill, with just 28% saying he’s done enough. Forty-four percent say Trump’s rhetoric encourages his supporters to act violently, while 23% say it discourages them, and 20% say neither. With a margin of 6 percentage points, 45% to 39%, Americans say the Senate made the wrong decision in voting to acquit him on the impeachment charge of inciting insurgency.
About 9 in 10 voters for President Joe Bidens view Trumps’ conduct as ungodly, with similar shares saying he did not do enough to condemn the January 6 insurgency and that the Senate made the wrong decision in l ‘acquitting.
The vast majority of Americans participating in the survey, 82%, say they have heard or seen at least media coverage of the Trumps trial, but only about a third said they watched more than brief clips and highlights. .
As is often the case with political news, the trial hearing was somewhat self-selected. Biden voters were 20 percentage points more likely than Trump voters to say they watched most or all of the debates. Sources of information about the trial also erupted along political lines: Among Trump voters who followed at least some of his coverage on cable news networks, 71% said they watched Fox News, with less than 1 in 10 tuning into CNN or MSNBC. About half of Biden voters who watched cable coverage say their viewing habits included CNN, 44% watch MSNBC, and only 2% log on to Fox.
The disparity of opinion, however, cannot be reduced to a question of media bubbles. Although the respective sample sizes are small, Trump voters who watched at least some parts of the trial were significantly more likely than those who followed less closely to find his behavior inappropriate.
The HuffPost / YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Feb. 16-19 with U.S. adults, using a sample selected from the YouGovs online opt-in panel to match demographics and other characteristics of the population. American adult.
HuffPost has partnered with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can find out more about this project and take the YouGovs National Representative Opinion Poll. More details on the survey methodology are available here.
Most surveys report a margin of error which represents some, but not all, potential survey errors. YouGovs reports include a model-based margin of error, which is based on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample rather than the standard random sampling methodology. If these assumptions are wrong, the margin of error based on the model may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of model-based margin of error.
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