The House Select Committee’s televised hearings on the events leading up to the violent January 6th, 2021 insurrection at the Capitol seem to be having the intended effect on the viewing audience judging from the results of an ABC News-Ipsossurvey that was released today. The poll shows that more Americans now believe that disgraced former president Donald Trump should be criminally prosecuted for his actions surrounding the insurrection and the now-public behind-the-scenes plotting to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election — actions that Trump took so that he could remain in power against all the basic tenets of our democracy.
The ABC News-Ipsos survey found that 58 percent of the people responding to their questioning thought that Trump should be criminally charged for his behavior, while 40 percent answered that the ex-president should not be prosecuted.
Broken down further, the poll finds that 46 percent of the respondents characterized Trump’s measure of responsibility for the storming of the Capitol as “great,” while an additional 12 percent would assess Trump as bearing a “good” deal of responsibility for the insurrection. Seventeen percent would only allow that Trump bears “some” responsibility, while an astonishing 24 percent of the respondents still think that Trump has no responsibility whatsoever for the events of January 6th.
Presumably, the people in this last group have not been paying close — or any — attention to the House Select Committee’s hearings and the incriminating evidence they’ve been presenting over the past 10 days.
Still, the results of this latest ABC News-Ipsos poll show that the number of people who believe that Trump needs to be put on trial has grown since the last edition of the poll taken before the televised hearings back in early May.
That earlier poll showed that 52 percent of those surveyed believed that Trump should be criminally charged for his role in the violent revolt, while 42 percent disagreed, with the new poll marking a significant increase in negative sentiment towards Trump, much of which is likely due to the revelations of the House hearings.
As effective as the House hearings seem to have been so far, the poll also provides evidence that there are more people who could benefit from knowing what has been uncovered in the investigations so far.
“This survey finds only 34% of Americans are following the hearings somewhat or very closely, including only 9% following it very closely. However, 60% believe the committee is conducting a fair and impartial investigation,” Ipsos writes on its website. Morever, “Partisanship appears to be the largest driver behind these sentiments, with almost all Democrats believing Trump is responsible versus fewer than a quarter of Republicans,” Ipsos’ analysis continues.
Until more than a small percentage of Republicans understand the extent of the danger presented by Trump’s crimes, any effort to prosecute the former president is likely to be met with Trump braying “PARTISAN WITCH HUNT” as loudly as he can, and a majority of Republicans nodding in agreement.
Let’s hope that the next set of hearings can reach more of the GOP and make those percentages of those in favor of prosecuting Trump reach closer to unanimity.
Original reporting by Olfaimihan Oshin at The Hill.