A large majority of Americans view prosecution of the Capitol rioters as "very important," and a similar share sees political extremism as a "major problem" for the country, according to a new Pew Research Center poll.
According to the March 1-7 survey panel of 12,055 US adults, 87% of Americans see legal action against the rioters to be at least "somewhat important." While there were discrepancies between those identified as Republican leaning versus Democrat leaning, 79% and 95% respectively, both groups tended to overwhelmingly support action against the rioters.
Americans also appear to have moderate confidence in the institutional responses to the riots. A plurality of 44% of Americans think the Capitol riots have had the right amount of attention, and 69% have a fair amount of trust in federal law enforcement to find and prosecute the rioters.
Pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol on January 6. The offending Trump supporters were angered about the results of the 2020 US presidential elections, disputing the legitimacy of the voting process. Rioters forced their way past police barricades, taking videos and selfies while they committed arson, ransacked the building, and vandalized the premises. Several people were killed during the riots, and dozens were injured.
The Pew poll also touched on such political radicalism. The survey shows that Americans are currently more concerned about political extremism than religious extremism, though they are split about the type of political radicalism that concerns them. In general, half of Americans see left-wing and right-wing extremism as a major problem, but over 70% of Democrats and Republicans see the radical manifestations of opposing political streams as being greater problems than extremists in their own camps. Only around 30% of Democrats and Republicans see extremism among fellow left- or right-wingers as a major problem.
One of the radical factions that lead the Capitol riot were QAnon supporters. The Pew poll showed that 61% of American are familiar with the QAnon conspiracy theories. However, Republican leaning individuals are more likely than Democrats to say that they know nothing about QAnon.
QAnon is a set of conspiracy theories that claim that former President Trump was involved in a secret war against a cabal of cannibalistic, pedophilic high-level political elites, and there is an impending "storm" in which the cabal will be outed and arrested. "QAnon" is an amalgamation of "Q" and "Anonymous." Anon is the nickname for users on the online forum 4chan, which is an anonymous platform where the conspiracies first emerged, posted by a user known as "Q." As indicated by a leaked FBI Phoenix Field Office Bulletin, the agency has been monitoring QAnon since at least 2019 out of concern that they would act violently out of their belief of the cabal's existence.
The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan organization that examines public sentiment about major public issues and trends. The March 1-7 survey was done with a panel of randomly selected US adults, participating through self-administered internet surveys. 89% of those selected for the survey responded.