WASHINGTON —Despite hours of video footage that show rioters fighting with Capitol Police officers, entering the Capitol through broken windows and surging past armed guards, new polling shows that a minority of Republicans believe the Jan. 6 Capitol riots were especially violent.
The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll found that a year after the deadly Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol, only about 4 in 10 Republicans recall the attack by supporters of then-President Donald Trump as "very violent or extremely violent."
Those views are a distinct minority among the rest of the country. Overall, about two-thirds of Americans described the day as very or extremely violent, including about 9 in 10 Democrats.
The findings represent the growing political divide in the country, as many Republican lawmakers and conservative-leaning opinion-makers have attempted to downplay the riots in the past year or shift the blame away from Trump.
The percentage of Americans who blame Trump for the Jan. 6 riot has grown slightly over the past year, with 57% saying he bears significant responsibility for what took place. That's up 7% from the days following the attack.
Only a small percentage of Republicans blame Trump for the attack. In the recent poll, 22% of Republicans blamed Trump for Jan. 6, up from 11% a year ago.
The Jan. 6 riots took place as lawmakers were certifying the electoral college results from the 2020 presidential election. Trump and other Republican lawmakers called for the delay of certification on the unproven basis of widespread voter fraud.
When then-Vice President Mike Pence upheld his Constitutional duties by presiding over the certification process, Trump supporters — milling about on the mall after a speech by the president — stormed into the Capitol. Some chanted threats toward Pence and top Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
More than 700 people have been arrested in connection with the riots.