While most Americans still believes it is important to find and prosecute people that participated in the Jan. 6 riot at the US Capitol the House select committee investigates, its number has dropped since March.
Pew Research Center’s poll published on Tuesday shows that overall, 78% of Americans still say it’s important to charge Jan. 6 rioters, down from 87% in March, with the change coming almost completely from Republicans and right-leaning independents.
Only about 27% of Republicans consider the prosecution of the rioters as very important compared to almost 50% six months ago while the changes in opinion about prosecuting the Jan. 6 rioters have been light Among Democrats and Democratic leaners with 95% saying it is important and 80% who see the investigations as very important.
The poll shows that since March, there has been a 22 percentage point drop – from 79% to 57%- in the number of GOP voters who think it is very or somewhat important that federal law enforcement agencies find and prosecute rioters at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Pew’s new survey, conducted September 13-1, underlines the wide partisan divides on a range of issues related to the January 6 events, including on the severity of the penalties for the rioters and the fairness of the House select committee’s investigation that sizable majority of Republicans (83%) don’t believe in.
Only seven defendants have so far been sentenced for the Jan. 6 riots, four of which got probation or house arrest, and none of them were accused of violence. Only three of them were sentenced to jail or prison, but two of them received credit for time already served and only one ended in federal prison.
Considering this fact, it’s not a surprise that 48% of the public overall – overwhelming majority of 71% of Democrats and only 19% of Republicans – believes the criminal penalties the rioters have been receiving are not severe enough.
Two out of 10 respondents consider the penalties as too severe with Democrats being on the very low end of 6% compared to 38% of Republicans and Republican leaners while 29% (39% Republicans and 21% Democrats) say the penalties are about right.