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The public hearings of the January 6 Committee have exposed many details about Donald Trump's actions and behavior in trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election. But I can easily imagine that many of his supporters, who believe his claim that the election was stolen, may think that all his actions were justified. Even though the hearings brought to light that most of Trump's advisors told him that there was no election fraud, I suspect that his base won't care -- they listen only to Trump himself. Fox News isn't even showing the hearings, so many of them may not even have seen those interviews.

Have there been polls of Republicans to determine how much of an impact the hearings have had on the level of support he still has among this base? What have they shown? For instance, have a significant number of his supporters accepted that the election wasn't stolen?

If opinion polls aren't reliable, are there other ways we can estimate this impact (e.g. attendance at rallies)?

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – CDJB
    Aug 1, 2022 at 9:28

4 Answers 4

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FiveThirtyEight maintains a favorability index on Donald Trump, this doesn't seem to have been strongly impacted since the hearings started being broadcast on June 9th, Although it has dropped slightly from 42.7% to 40.8% today (27/July). Note that that is across the whole population, not just Trump's base. We can assume that his base would have been less negatively affected, possibly even positively affected.

https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/polls/favorability/donald-trump/

Favorability of Donald Trump

As for reasons why the hearings haven't had much impact on Trumps popularity, Conservative critics have compared the hearing to show trials, further undermining confidence in Democrat controlled congress and raising fear of politically motivated legal persecution. This in fact makes Donald Trump's calls to "Take on the deep state" and "Drain the swamp" seem all the more compelling.

Here's conservative commentator Tucker Carlson's take on the Jan 6th hearing (If you agree with his take or not, it shows how conservatives think about the Jan 6 hearings) https://tuckercarlson.com/tucker-the-facts-of-january-6th-have-been-distorted/

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No.

The Economist ran an article highly supportive of the hearings, The January 6th committee has hobbled Donald Trump, but concedes that its impact on the faithful has been fairly limited.

America should count itself lucky that Donald Trump tried so hard to overturn the election of 2020. That is the biggest obstacle—though far from an insurmountable one—standing between him and a return to power.

But do not imagine that Mr Trump is fading away. “Half of gop voters ready to leave Trump behind, poll finds”, read a recent headline in the New York Times about a survey it conducted with Siena College. It is wiser to emphasise the darker view, that the glass remains half empty. The intense loyalty to Mr Trump of half the Republican base means that, the more Republican candidates choose to run, splitting his opposition, the better it will be for him. Betting markets are placing a higher probability on Mr Trump’s being the next Republican presidential nominee than on Mr Biden’s being the next Democratic one.

In a sign that the committee’s work is not reaching, or at least not persuading, many Americans, the same poll found that fully three-quarters of Republican primary voters believe that on January 6th Mr Trump was “just exercising his right to contest the election”. If Mr Trump reached the general-election campaign, he would be able to count on the polarisation of American politics to draw the party together behind him, as in 2016.

Basically, if you're a Democrat, he sucked, nothing new. If you're a Republican, it's being ignored mostly so far. Fox News, for example is providing limited coverage.

The poll they are referring to, by Siena College & New York Times, ran July 5-7th, so it got the reactions to hearings up to installment #6, I believe.

A majority of voters, 55%, say Trump threatened American democracy through his actions following the 2020 elections, compared to 39% who say he was just exercising his right to contest the election.

“Not surprisingly, Democrats and Republicans regard Trump’s actions in the aftermath of the 2020 election very differently. While 92% of Democrats think Trump threatened democracy, 76% of Republicans said he was just exercising his right to contest the election. Independents side with Democrats, 56-37%, in saying Trump threatened democracy,” Levy said.

I suspect however that this, along with the whole Jan 6th riot, will be extremely fertile terrain for attack ads in 2024.

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One of the significant problems with the Jan 6 Commission is that Nancy Pelosi (House Speaker) decided that she did not like Kevin McCarthy's (Minority Leader) picks for the Commission. Instead, she picked Liz Cheney (an outspoken Trump critic) and Adam Kinzinger (also a Trump critic, who is retiring this year).

This particular move was seen as purely partisan

The Jan. 6 committee was similarly stripped of any pretense. It was as subtle a political move as Pelosi’s ripping up President Trump’s State of the Union speech. Asked what she hoped to achieve from the committee on the first day of hearings, Pelosi tellingly referred to it as a “narrative.” It is the difference between seeing and simulating justice.

According to The New York Times, that narrative is meant to “recast the midterm message” and “give [Democrats] a platform for making a broader case about why they deserve to stay in power.” It was packaged with the help of a high-powered media figure brought in to help stage the event. Much of the media touted how the hearings would be “must-see TV” and would force voters “not to look away” from Trump’s “coup.” Countervailing evidence was edited out. Thus, Trump was shown calling for the protesters to “march” on the Capitol — but not his additional words to do so “peacefully.”

To that end, many Republicans seem disinterested in what they have to say (not a poll, but relevant nonetheless)

Fox News Channel is airing the Jan. 6 committee hearings when they occur in daytime hours and a striking number of the network's viewers have made clear they'd rather be doing something else.

During two daytime hearings last week, Fox averaged 727,000 viewers, the Nielsen company said. That compares to the 3.09 million who watched the hearings on MSNBC and the 2.21 million tuned in to CNN.

It completely flips the typical viewing pattern for the news networks. During weekdays when the hearings are not taking place, Fox News Channel routinely has more viewers than the other two networks combined, Nielsen said.

Last Thursday, Fox had 1.33 million viewers for the 2 p.m. Eastern hour before the hearing started — slightly below its second quarter average but on par for early summer, when fewer people are watching TV.

If they're not watching the hearings, they're unlikely to be swayed by them.

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    It should be noted that Pelosi's decision about who to appoint to the committee happened after Republicans refused to authorized an independent commission.
    – Barmar
    Jul 27, 2022 at 17:55
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    I'm not saying it was smart on that front from Republicans to do that. But Pelosi's actions ensured you had virtually no skepticism on the committee, which, in turn, meant that you got only one side of the story. In other words, she did the one thing that ensured lots of Trump's base paid no mind to it. Ironically, it's Trump himself who is angry at McCarthy for not trying harder to get different picks on the committee
    – Machavity
    Jul 27, 2022 at 18:12
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    It should be noted that some of the picks she was given were likely to be called by the commission as witness which isn't something that really should happen. "Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she was barring them from a committee scrutinizing the attack based on Democrats’ concerns about their “statements made and actions taken” around the assault." "nytimes.com/2021/07/21/us/politics/jim-banks-jim-jordan.html
    – Joe W
    Jul 27, 2022 at 18:15
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I don't think it has changed most people's views - people who hate Trump still think he fermented an insurrection and almost took down our sacred democracy on January 6th, the day that was as bad as Pearl Harbor and almost as bad as 9/11. People who are obsessed with Trump still think whatever they think, I won't even pretend to know. And people who think Trump was a good president but not such a great person still think that, while he could have (and should have) handled things differently, he did not ferment an insurrection. Plus, the fact that everybody on the committee thinks that Trump is Hitler, Putin, and DeSantis combined, doesn't give them any credibility in the eyes of not rabid anti-Trumpers.

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    I think you mean "foment".
    – Barmar
    Aug 2, 2022 at 13:42

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