While the January 6 Congressional Select Committee is set to begin its work soon, Americans still overwhelmingly disapprove of the events they witnessed that day, a sentiment that also includes a large majority of Republicans and voters in the former. President Trump – and most think there is more to learn more. But beyond this larger feeling, not everyone describes what happened in the same way.
A majority of Americans still specifically call what happened that day an “insurgency” and an attempt to overthrow the government. This is where most Democrats and Independents land. But about a third of the country calls it patriotism, or defense of freedom, though some of them disapprove of the attack itself nonetheless. And on these descriptors, we see divisions within the GOP.
Perhaps it is worth watching: among Republicans there is some change in sentiment as they disapprove, but not as strongly as before. This less intense disapproval, among some in the Republican base, perhaps follows recent comments about the day from former President Trump and others.
Descriptors with ideas like freedom and patriotism remain relegated to a smaller – but so far enduring – part of the political right, and Trump voters are more likely than Americans as a whole to use them.
The percentage of self-proclaimed conservatives who describe what happened as “patriotism” increased slightly from January, about half of self-proclaimed conservatives now.
Shortly after the events, most told us that they felt democracy itself was in jeopardy, and most continue to express this concern. But it is telling that there is little connection between approving or disapproving of events or not, and feeling that democracy is threatened.
They believe the latter anyway.
This CBS News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 2,238 US adult residents surveyed between July 14 and July 17, 2021. This sample was weighted by gender, l age, race and education based on US Census American Community Survey and US Census Current Population Survey, as well as the 2020 presidential vote. The margin of error is ± 2.4 points.