GOP voters losing interest in prosecuting Jan 6 rioters - poll

There remains a large partisan split on the fairness of House committee’s probe into the January 6 US Capitol riots.

Members of the Proud Boys and supporters of US President Donald Trump show up at the US Capitol Building over an hour before supporters began to storm the building in Washington, US, January 6, 2021. (photo credit: REUTERS/LEAH MILLIS)
Members of the Proud Boys and supporters of US President Donald Trump show up at the US Capitol Building over an hour before supporters began to storm the building in Washington, US, January 6, 2021.
(photo credit: REUTERS/LEAH MILLIS)

A declining number of American voters say it is important to investigate and prosecute rioters who broke into the US Capitol on January 6, with the change coming almost completely from Republicans and right-leaning independents, according to the Pew Research Center.

Overall, 78% of Americans still say it's important to charge January 6 rioters

As the House committee and federal law enforcement continues investigating the Capitol riots, the number of Americans voicing the importance of ramping up the search has dropped from 87% to 78% since March. 

The study noted that only about quarter of Republicans (27%) view the prosecution of the rioters as very important; six months ago, half said this was very important. Among Democrats and Democratic leaners, the changes in opinion about finding and prosecuting the Jan. 6 rioters have been light. Today, 95% say it is important, including 80% who see this as very important.

A mob of supporters of former US President Donald Trump fight with members of law enforcement at a door they broke open as they storm the US Capitol Building in Washington, US, January 6, 2021.REUTERS/LEAH MILLIS/FILE PHOTOA mob of supporters of former US President Donald Trump fight with members of law enforcement at a door they broke open as they storm the US Capitol Building in Washington, US, January 6, 2021.REUTERS/LEAH MILLIS/FILE PHOTO

The new survey by Pew Research Center, conducted September 13-19 among 10,371 adults on the Center’s nationally representative American Trends Panel, discovered wide partisan divides on a range of issues related to the events of Jauary. 6, including views of the severity of the penalties for the those who broke into the Capitol, the amount of attention the riot has received.

A sizable majority of Republicans (83%) said they are not confident the House investigation will be fair.  

The survey also noted that Republicans who said Biden definitely or probably won the 2020 presidential election (43%) are more than twice as likely as Republicans who said Trump won (18%) to say that it is very important that federal law enforcement agencies find and prosecute the individuals who broke into and rioted on January 6. 

So far, only seven defendants have been sentenced for the January 6 uprising, none of whom were accused of violence. Four of the seven defendants got probation or house arrest. The other three were sentenced to jail or prison, but only one has reported to federal prison as the other two received credit for time already served.