AJC poll: Most Georgia voters say Trump at least partly to blame for Jan. 6

For weeks this summer congressional investigators presented evidence tying then-President Donald Trump’s actions to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Many Georgia voters were paying attention, and most hold Trump at least partly responsible for the attack, according to a new Atlanta Journal-Constitution survey.

The poll found about half of Georgia voters surveyed have followed the work of the House Jan. 6 committee very closely or somewhat closely. And a clear majority of respondents — about 59% — said Trump bears “a lot” or “some” responsibility for the attack.

The latest survey mirrors the results of a previous poll that found most Georgians hold Trump at least somewhat responsible for the attack. But it also suggests not many people have changed their minds.

An AJC survey in January 2021 — soon after the attack — found 58% of respondents believed Trump bore “a great deal” or “a good amount” of the blame. That’s almost identical to the latest results for a similar question.

The issue of Trump’s culpability isn’t going away. Congressional investigators plan to resume hearings in September. A U.S. Justice Department investigation is now scrutinizing Trump’s actions.

And a Fulton County special grand jury is investigating Trump’s efforts to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s victory here.

Some Georgians welcome the scrutiny of the former president’s actions leading up to the Jan. 6 attack.

“He aggravated and provoked the situation,” Gwinnett County resident Toya Dunkinsel said. “He continuously egged it on, and then he showed his approval of it, showing that’s what his intent was in the first place.”

Others say the congressional investigation amounts to a witch hunt.

“I think it’s just a political show,” Cobb County resident David Munn said. “What’s the point, other than they’re trying to smear Trump?”

Georgians have had more reasons than many Americans to consider Trump’s responsibility. Trump’s campaign to overturn the election focused on Georgia and a handful of other swing states.

Events in Georgia — such as Trump’s January 2021 phone call asking Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” the votes to reverse his defeat, plus the slate of fake Trump electors who aided his cause — have played a prominent role in all three investigations.

The Fulton County and Justice Department criminal investigations have played out mostly behind closed doors. But the congressional hearings have been televised. And Georgians have played prominent and sometimes dramatic roles.

In addition to Raffensperger, the Georgians who testified include the first police officer injured in the attack, two election workers whose lives were upended by Trump’s false voting fraud claims and a former federal prosecutor who lost his job when his investigations found no merit to Trump’s fraud allegations.

The AJC poll found about 21% of respondents followed the congressional committee’s work “very closely,” and nearly 32% said they followed it “somewhat closely.”

Not surprisingly, the poll found a strong partisan and ideological divide on whether voters paid attention. More than 70% of liberals and Democrats have followed the Jan. 6 committee’s investigation very closely or somewhat closely, while only about one-third of conservatives and Republicans paid attention.

The same divides surfaced on the question of whether Trump is responsible for the Jan. 6 attack. Nearly all liberals and Democrats said Trump bears a lot or some responsibility, while less than a quarter of conservatives and Republicans blamed the former president.

Moderate and independent voters were less likely than liberals and Democrats to pay attention to the Jan. 6 committee or to blame Trump for the attack. But they were far more likely than conservatives or Republicans to do so.

The AJC poll suggests the events that led to Jan. 6 are not merely a matter of history. Trump continues to claim falsely that Democrats stole the 2020 election. Numerous investigations have found no evidence to support that allegation.

The poll found 49% of respondents would be less likely to vote for a political candidate who believes the 2020 election was stolen. About 13% would be more likely to vote for such a candidate, and 36% said it would make no difference in their vote.