By 52% to 34%, Americans approve of the House committee investigating the January 6 Capitol takeover

Taylor OrthDirector of Survey Data Journalism
Linley SandersData Journalist
June 16, 2022, 9:08 PM GMT+0

On Thursday, the House Select Committee investigating the January 6th attack on the United States Capitol will continue presenting their findings to the American public. Few Americans are watching the primetime coverage of the January 6 committee hearings — according to the latest Economist/YouGov poll — but most are aware of the news around the hearings.

While only 25% of Americans watched all or part of the initial primetime hearing on June 9, around 67% of Americans say they heard something about it. The ones who have heard about it without watching the live coverage know about the hearings either through news stories or through watching clips or highlights. Democrats appear to be paying closer attention to the hearings than Republicans: 78% of Democrats have heard about the hearings, compared to 61% of Republicans. This is consistent with past findings that, perhaps unsurprisingly, people usually hear more about things they'd like to hear about. For instance, Republicans in 2015 were more likely to have heard about an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, which led to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a Democrat, testifying for 11 hours before a House committee.

Many Americans don’t agree on the premise of the House committee’s case: that there was an attempt to halt the certification of the 2020 presidential election to overturn the results. Fewer than half of Americans (46%) definitely say there was an attempt to overturn the election results prior to the official certification of electoral votes, while 26% of Americans say there was not. Three in five Democrats (62%) say there was such an attempt, nearly double the share of Republicans who agree (33%).

Despite this, about half of Americans (52%) approve of the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 Capitol takeover, while 34% disapprove. Nearly eight in 10 Democrats approve (79%), compared to 21% of Republicans. People who watched parts of the hearing are generally more likely to have an opinion of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol and to approve of its work — which could reflect an effect of watching or could signal that the people who are watching were predisposed to approve, or a combination of the two.

Bennie Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi, is the chair of the House committee, but it is his co-chair Liz Cheney, a Republican from Wyoming, who has captured the attention of more Americans. Just 40% of all Americans and 53% of Democrats have an opinion of Thompson; 72% of Americans and 80% of Democrats have an opinion of Cheney. And Democrats’ opinion of Cheney is even more net positive than their opinion of Thompson. As for Republicans, they are more negative toward Cheney than toward the Democratic chair.

— Carl Bialik contributed to this article

This poll was conducted on June 11 - 14, 2022 among 1,500 U.S. adult citizens. Explore more on the methodology and data for this Economist/YouGov poll, and a round-up of YouGov's recent polling on election integrity, voting rights, and the January 6 Capitol attack.

Image: Unsplash (Harold Mendoza)