Half of Republicans believe false narratives about the Capitol riot, poll says

Capitol Riot Trump Signs
Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as people try to storm the US Capitol on January 6 Brent Stirton/Getty Images
  • A Reuters/Ipsos poll found 51% of Republicans believe the Capitol rioters were “mostly peaceful.”
  • The poll also found that 55% of Republicans believe the riot was instigated by left-wing radicals.
  • Both are false narratives pushed by former President Donald Trump and his allies after the riot.
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Half of Republicans believe false narratives about the deadly Capitol riot, pushed by former President Donald Trump and his allies, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll.

The poll of more than 1,000 adults, conducted at the end of March, found that 51% of Republicans believe that the people who gathered at the Capitol on January 6 were “mostly peaceful, law-abiding Americans,” while 55% of Republicans said that the riot “was led by violent left-wing protestors trying to make Trump look bad.”

Both ideas are certifiably false.

In a recent Fox News interview, Trump said that the crowds posed “zero threat” but the riot was well documented on video and in photos, showing the Trump supporters breaking down police barriers and throwing objects at officers. One police officer, Brian Sicknick, died in the chaos.

Capitol riot
Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as people try to storm the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. Brent Stirton/Getty Images

Another popular theory on the right is that the riot was instigated by left-wing anti-fascist or “antifa” protesters, but the FBI has said there is “no indication at this time” that that was the case, according to Reuters.

Of all those surveyed, 59% believe that Trump bears some responsibility for the attack. But when broken down by political party, just three in 10 Republicans agreed.

John Greer, an expert on public opinion at Vanderbilt University, told Reuters that the poll shows that Republicans “have their own version of reality” when it comes to the riot.

“It is a huge problem. Democracy requires accountability and accountability requires evidence,” Greer said.

The poll also highlighted how popular Trump remains as a potential 2024 candidate in the party.

Eight in 10 Republicans hold a favorable view of Trump, and six in 10 believe his false claim that the 2020 election “was stolen” from him. Six in 10 also believe he should run again in 2024.