Monmouth Poll: Jan. 6th Hearings have no Impact on Opinion

Dr. Patrick Murray, Monmouth University Polling Director

The House January 6th Committee has tried to make the case that former President Donald Trump bears direct responsibility for what happened at the U.S. Capitol last year. The latest Monmouth University Poll, though, suggests it hasn’t moved the needle with the American public. In general, public opinion stands pretty much the same as it was before recent headline-grabbing testimony of former presidential aides during the last three public hearings. This is true of both Trump’s culpability in the attack on the Capitol and claims of election fraud. In fact, Trump’s favorability rating is nearly identical to where it stood immediately after the 2020 election, and 4 in 10 Americans would lean toward backing a comeback bid in 2024.

Currently, 38% of the public thinks Trump is directly responsible for what happened on Jan. 6th.  In late June, right before Cassidy Hutchinson’s appearance with the House committee, a similar 42% said Trump is directly responsible. Another 26% say Trump is not directly responsible but he encouraged those involved and 32% say Trump did nothing wrong regarding Jan. 6th. Those results were 25% and 30%, respectively, in June. Just 5% of Republicans say Trump is directly responsible and 23% say he encouraged those involved.

When asked how to describe the incident at the Capitol building, 64% say “riot” is appropriate and 52% say “insurrection” is appropriate, while 35% say it is appropriate to call it a legitimate protest. These results are no more than one or two points different than the Monmouth poll taken six weeks ago after the first five public hearings. Moreover, 29% of Americans – including 6 in 10 Republicans (61%) – continue to believe Joe Biden only won the 2020 presidential election due to voter fraud, which is unchanged from the June poll. These results are also similar to a Monmouth poll taken last year, before the committee was formed.

“The sensational revelations during the hearings do not seem to have moved the public opinion needle on Trump’s culpability for either the riot or his spurious election fraud claims. This continues to give political cover to Republican leaders who avoid addressing the damage done to our democratic processes that day,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

The poll finds that 41% of Americans – including 73% of Democrats – favor charging Trump with crimes related to his involvement in Jan. 6th, while 34% are opposed – including 66% of Republicans. Another 25% are unsure. The public is divided on whether having Trump stand trial will help (31%) or hurt (35%) the stability of our political system, while another 30% say it would have no impact on the country overall.

Overall, 40% of Americans have a favorable opinion Trump and 50% have an unfavorable opinion. More than 8 in 10 Republicans hold a positive view of Trump, including a majority of 57% who have a very favorable opinion of him. All these numbers are virtually unchanged from November 2020.

Four in ten Americans say they would either definitely (23%) or probably (17%) vote for Trump if he ran again in 2024. At the other end of the spectrum, 48% say they definitely would not vote for Trump and another 8% would probably not support him. Among Republicans, 62% would definitely back Trump and 23% would probably vote for him.

“As we have seen from the success of Trump-endorsed candidates in recent primaries, he continues to hold sway over a large portion of the Republican base. That doesn’t necessarily make him a shoe-in for the nomination in 2024, but he remains a formidable presence,” said Murray.

About 6 in 10 Americans have been following the House committee hearings either a lot (23%) or a little (38%) which is basically the same percentage who were following it prior to Hutchinson’s appearance in late June. However, just 12% of Republicans are paying a lot of attention, compared with 37% of Democrats. Overall, just 8% of Americans say the hearings have changed their mind about the Capitol incident, which is basically unchanged from 6% who said the same in June. Most Americans (61%) have at least a little trust that the House committee is conducting a fair investigation, although there continues to be a huge gap in this sentiment between Democrats (91%) and Republicans (35%).

            “When we released our June poll, I said the committee was preaching to the choir. These current results suggest they haven’t recruited any new singers since then,” said Murray.

            Views of the American system as a whole have rebounded slightly from their low point in June. Currently, 42% of the public describes our system of government as basically sound. This number stood at 36% six weeks ago, having declined from 55% in February 2020 and from 44% in January 2021, a few weeks after the Capitol riot. Four decades ago, 62% said the American system was sound.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from July 28 to August 1, 2022 with 808 adults in the United States.  The question results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.

QUESTIONS AND RESULTS     

(* Some columns may not add to 100% due to rounding.)

[Q1-9 previously released.]

10.    Is your general impression of Donald Trump very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable, or very unfavorable, or do you have no opinion of him?

  TREND:

Aug.2022

Nov.2020

Late

Sept.2020*

Early

Sept.2020*

Aug.2020*

Late

June2020*

Early

June2020*

May2020*

April2020*

March2020

Feb.2020

Jan.2020

Dec.

2019

Nov.2019

Sept.2019

Very favorable

21%

24%

27%

26%

23%

22%

26%

24%

24%

27%

33%

34%

31%

32%

28%

Somewhat favorable

19%

16%

15%

14%

17%

16%

12%

16%

18%

19%

10%

9%

13%

10%

13%

Somewhat unfavorable

9%

8%

7%

7%

8%

9%

9%

9%

7%

8%

7%

4%

5%

6%

6%

Very unfavorable

41%

40%

44%

46%

46%

46%

48%

44%

43%

40%

46%

50%

48%

50%

49%

No opinion

9%

11%

7%

6%

7%

7%

5%

7%

7%

7%

3%

3%

3%

2%

4%

(n)

(808)

(810)

(809)

(758)

(785)

(733)

(742)

(739)

(743)

(851)

(902)

(903)

(903)

(908)

(1,161)

            * Registered voters only

11.    If Donald Trump runs for president in 2024, would you definitely vote for him, probably vote for him, probably not vote for him, or definitely not vote for him?

Aug.2022

Definitely

23%

Probably

17%

Probably not

8%

Definitely not

48%

(VOL) Don’t know

3%

(n)

(808)

12.    Now, I’m going to read four statements about our American system of government. Listen carefully and then tell me which one is closest to how you feel: our system of government is basically sound and essentially needs no changes, our system is basically sound, but needs some improvement, our system is not too sound and needs many improvements, or our system is not sound at all and needs significant changes?

  TREND:

Aug.2022

June2022

Nov.2021

Jan.2021

Feb.2020

Nov.2018

Dec.2017

Nov.

1980*

Basically sound, no changes

9%

6%

8%

7%

9%

10%

7%

6%

Basically sound, some improvement

33%

30%

35%

37%

46%

42%

43%

56%

Not too sound, many improvements

27%

26%

26%

33%

24%

26%

25%

27%

Not sound at all, significant changes

29%

36%

30%

22%

21%

22%

24%

10%

(VOL) Don’t know

1%

2%

1%

0%

1%

1%

2%

1%

(n)

(808)

(978)

(811)

(809)

(902)

(802)

(806)

(1,103)

      * Source: Opinion Research Corporation

13.    Do you believe Joe Biden won the 2020 election fair and square, or do you believe that he only won it due to voter fraud?

  TREND:

Aug.2022

June2022

Jan.2022

Nov.2021

June2021

March2021

Jan.2021

Nov.2020

Fair and square

64%

63%

61%

62%

61%

62%

65%

60%

Due to voter fraud

29%

29%

32%

32%

32%

32%

32%

32%

(VOL) Don’t know

7%

8%

7%

5%

7%

6%

3%

8%*

(n)

(808)

(978)

(794)

(811)

(810)

(802)

(809)

(810)

          * Includes 2% who said Biden would not be declared the winner.

[QUESTIONS 14-16 WERE ROTATED]

Turning to the incident at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021…

14.    Is it appropriate or not appropriate to describe this incident as a legitimate protest?

  TREND:

Aug.2022

June2022

June2021

Appropriate

35%

34%

33%

Not appropriate

61%

62%

63%

(VOL) Don’t know

4%

4%

4%

(n)

(808)

(978)

(810)

15.    Is it appropriate or not appropriate to describe this incident as a riot?

  TREND:

Aug.2022

June2022

June2021

Appropriate

64%

65%

72%

Not appropriate

32%

32%

24%

(VOL) Don’t know

3%

3%

4%

(n)

(808)

(978)

(810)

16.    Is it appropriate or not appropriate to describe this incident as an insurrection?

  TREND:

Aug.2022

June2022

June2021

Appropriate

52%

50%

56%

Not appropriate

41%

44%

35%

(VOL) Don’t know

7%

6%

8%

(n)

(808)

(978)

(810)

17.    The House of Representatives created a select committee to investigate the U.S. Capitol incident that has recently been holding public hearings. How much have you been following these hearings – a lot, a little, or not at all?

  TREND:

Aug.2022

June2022

A lot

23%

23%

A little

38%

40%

Not at all

39%

37%

(n)

(808)

(978)

18.    How much do you trust that the House committee is conducting a fair investigation – a lot, a little, or not at all?

  TREND:

Aug.2022

June2022

Nov.2021*

A lot

35%

34%

26%

A little

26%

22%

31%

Not at all

36%

41%

41%

(VOL) Don’t know

3%

3%

2%

(n)

(808)

(978)

(811)

            * Nov 2021 wording:  “How much do you trust the House committee to conduct a fair investigation…?”

19.    Have the recent House January 6 Committee hearings changed your mind about what happened at the Capitol that day or who is responsible, or have the hearings not changed your mind?

  TREND:

Aug.2022

June2022

Yes, have

8%

6%

No, have not

89%

90%

(VOL) Don’t know

3%

4%

(n)

(808)

(978)

20.    Do you think Donald Trump is (a) directly responsible for January 6th, (b) encouraged those involved in January 6th but was not directly responsible for their actions, or (c) did nothing wrong regarding January 6th?

  TREND:

Aug.2022

June2022

Directly responsible

38%

42%

Encouraged those involved

26%

25%

Did nothing wrong

32%

30%

(VOL) Don’t know

3%

3%

(n)

(808)

(978)

21.    Do you favor or oppose charging Trump with crimes related to his involvement in January 6th, or are you not sure?

Aug.2022

Favor

41%

Oppose

34%

Not sure

25%

(n)

(808)

22.    Thinking about the overall good of the country, do you think it would help or hurt the stability of our political system if Trump has to stand trial for his involvement in January 6th, or would it have no impact?

Aug.2022

Help

31%

Hurt

35%

No impact

30%

(VOL) Don’t know

4%

(n)

(808)

METHODOLOGY

The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from July 28 to August 1, 2022 with a probability-based national random sample of 808 adults age 18 and older. This includes 286 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 522 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone, in English. Telephone numbers were selected through a mix of random digit dialing and list-based sampling. Landline respondents were selected with a modified Troldahl-Carter youngest adult household screen. Interviewing services were provided by Braun Research, with sample obtained from Dynata (RDD, n=492), Aristotle (list, n=135) and a panel of prior Monmouth poll participants (n=181). Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey design, data weighting and analysis. The full sample is weighted for region, age, education, gender and race based on US Census information (ACS 2018 one-year survey). For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points (unadjusted for sample design). Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below). In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

DEMOGRAPHICS (weighted)

Self-Reported

26% Republican

45% Independent

29% Democrat

 

49% Male

51% Female

 

30% 18-34

33% 35-54

37% 55+

 

63% White

12% Black

16% Hispanic

  9% Asian/Other

 

69% No degree

31% 4 year degree

MARGIN OF ERROR

unweighted  sample

moe(+/-)

TOTAL

 

808

3.5%

REGISTERED VOTER

Yes

751

3.6%

No

57

13.0%

SELF-REPORTED PARTY ID

Republican

195

7.0%

Independent

360

5.2%

Democrat

240

6.3%

IDEOLOGY

Liberal

186

7.2%

Moderate

334

5.4%

Conservative

265

6.0%

GENDER

Male

404

4.9%

Female

404

4.9%

AGE

18-34

145

8.1%

35-54

285

5.8%

55+

375

5.1%

CHILDREN IN HOME

Yes

204

6.9%

No

602

4.0%

RACE

White, non-Hispanic

569

4.1%

Other

219

6.6%

COLLEGE GRADUATE

No degree

366

5.1%

4 year degree

441

4.7%

WHITE COLLEGE

White, no degree

247

6.2%

White, 4 year degree

322

5.5%

INCOME

<$50K

218

6.6%

$50 to <$100K

231

6.5%

$100K+

318

5.5%

 

 

 

Crosstabs may be found in the PDF file on the report webpage:  https://www.monmouth.edu/polling-institute/reports/monmouthpoll_US_080922/

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