Anyone who was paying attention to the polling for the past year around the Jan. 6 insurrection generally concluded two things: 1) very few Americans held the people who stormed the Capitol in high regard; and 2) many Americans, though not a majority, wanted to leave the violent event in the past.
A Quinnipiac poll in January, for instance, found that 50% of Americans thought the storming of the Capitol should never be forgotten, while 44% believed too much was being made of the attack and it was time to move on.
In addition, support for arresting the insurrectionists last year dropped considerably among Republicans and independent voters in the months following the event. From January to July 2021, a Daily Kos/Civiqs survey found GOP support for arrests dropped 35 points to 55%, while independent voters' favoring arrests dropped 22 points, from 91% to 69% (still high, but not nearly as high). Not surprisingly, Democrats remained pretty stable, with 97% still backing arrests in July.
But new polling taken in the days following the Jan. 6 committee's first hearing suggests the panel's inquiry has grabbed the attention of nearly two-thirds of Americans—including Democrats, independents, and even a sizable slice of Republicans alike.
The survey by the progressive consortium Navigator Research found that nearly two-thirds of Americans (63%) are hearing either "a lot" or "some" about the public hearings, including 70% of Democrats, 52% of independents, and 59% of Republicans. The quality and veracity of that information surely varies, but people across partisan lines are paying attention.
Additionally, by 36 points, Americans overwhelmingly support the work of the House select committee investigating Jan. 6. Once again, nearly two-thirds (64%) support the panel's investigation into "what happened on January 6th at the Capitol and the events leading up to it." That support includes 88% of Democrats and 56% of independents and even 40% of Republicans. Just 28% of Americans oppose the inquiry.
Overall support for the panel has dropped slightly since Navigator’s April survey, mostly due to a 7-point drop in support among Republicans along with independents moving from "not sure" (22% in April) to opposing the panel. Independents now saying they are not sure has dropped to 16% while opposition to the inquiry among the group has increased by 7 points since April.
Now that Americans have had a chance to see some of the panel's work, a net favorability of 36 points with almost no drop-off in support among Democrats and independents is a good start for the public phase of the investigation.
As I noted in April, Democratic base voters crave accountability for the Jan. 6 attack, but it’s also essential to remind swingy Trump-Biden voters that Trump and his GOP apologists are an ongoing threat to democracy. The Jan. 6 panel seems poised to push both of those objectives forward.
We talk to expert Brandi Buchman about everything you need to know for the Jan. 6 committee, hearings, and investigation on Daily Kos' The Brief podcast