54% of Republicans think ‘violent left-wing activists’ were behind Jan. 6 Capitol riot: poll

U.S. Capitol
President Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they push barricades to storm the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on January 6, 2021. Demonstrators breached security and entered the Capitol as Congress debated the 2020 presidential election Electoral Vote Certification. |

A slight majority of Republicans believe the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol was led by “violent left-wing activists” seeking to vilify former President Donald Trump, according to a new poll.

Ipsos/Reuters released the findings of a poll last Friday that asked respondents their views on issues including the 2020 election, the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill protests, and voting laws.

According to the poll, 54% of Republican respondents said they either “Strongly agree” or “somewhat agree” that the protest at the Capitol “was led by violent left-wing protestors trying to make Trump look bad.”

Another 17% of Republican respondents said they strongly disagreed, 13% said they somewhat disagreed, and 16% responded that they did not know.

By contrast, 65% of Democrat respondents said they “strongly disagree” with the claim, 10% said they “somewhat disagree” and 16% said they either “somewhat” or “strongly” agreed.

Additionally, 46% of Republican respondents “strongly” disagreed when asked if they believed Trump was “at least partly to blame for starting the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.” 

By contrast, 73% of Democrat respondents and 43% of independent respondents answered that they “strongly agree” with the claim that Trump was “at least partly to blame.”

The lone person killed by lethal force at the Capitol was Ashli Babbit, an unarmed U.S. Air Force veteran who attempted to climb through a smashed door pane into the House chamber. She was shot in the neck by a plainclothes officer from inside the chamber. 

Three others who reportedly died at the Capitol that day include a woman who sustained injuries after being trampled on by the crowd, an individual who suffered a heart attack, and another individual who had a stroke. 

While the media had claimed for months that Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick had died as a result of injuries he suffered when responding to the riot, specifically alleging that he was hit in the head by a fire extinguisher — which was also cited by Democrats at former President Trump's second impeachment — reports now say medical examiners "did not find signs that the officer sustained any blunt force trauma." Since Sicknick responded to the riot where he was sprayed by an irritant, possibly bear spray, it's speculated that that might've contributed to his death, along with any preexisting condition.

The Ipsos/Reuters poll was conducted May 17–19, using an online sample of 2,007 adults that included 909 Democrats, 754 Republicans, and 196 Independents.

According to Ipsos/Reuters, “the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points for all respondents.”

“Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online non-probability polls,” they explained. “The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval.”

“The poll also has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points for Democrats, plus or minus 4.1 percentage points for Republicans, and plus or minus 8.0 percentage points for independents.”

The poll also found that 68% of Democrat respondents felt it was “very important” for the government to make it easier to vote, while 60% of Republican respondents felt it was “very important” for the government to protect elections from voter fraud.

On Jan. 6, as Congress met to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election, hundreds of Trump supporters violently stormed Capitol Hill, claiming the election was stolen.

Although both major parties denounced the riot, some conservatives claimed that Antifa and other far-left groups were behind the protest, possibly as a “false flag” operation.

Last week, the House of Representatives passed a bill by a vote of 252-175 to create an independent commission to further investigate the Jan. 6 riot, sending it to the Senate.

For his part, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell released a statement expressing opposition to the bill, arguing that pre-existing investigations on the riot were sufficient.

“Federal law enforcement have made at least 445 arrests and counting relating to crimes committed that day. Hundreds of those people have been charged. Law enforcement investigations are ongoing and federal authorities say they expect to arrest at least 100 or so more,” stated McConnell on May 19.

“It’s not at all clear what new facts or additional investigation yet another commission could lay on top of the existing efforts by law enforcement and Congress. The facts have come out and will continue to come out.”  

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