Poll: Most Americans think Trump at least partially responsible for Capitol attack

(Reuters) - Seventy-one percent of American adults, including nearly half of all Republicans, believe former President Donald Trump was at least partially responsible for starting the deadly Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, according to an Ipsos poll conducted for Reuters.

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But the national online poll, released on Saturday, also showed that a smaller proportion -- only about half of the country -- thinks Trump should be convicted of inciting insurrection at his Senate impeachment trial or barred from holding public office again.

The survey of 998 adults, which ran after Trump’s lawyers concluded their presentation at the trial on Friday, revealed how many Americans are balancing what they understand to be Trump’s role in the attack with what they think he deserves in response.

When asked what they thought of Trump’s role, 30% of Americans said he was “fully” responsible for sparking the violent confrontation between police and Trump loyalists who broke into Congress in hopes of stopping lawmakers from certifying the November 2020 presidential election results.

Another 25% said he was largely responsible, 16% said he was partially responsible, and the remaining 29% said they thought Trump was not at all responsible for the attack that left five people dead.

While Democrats were much more likely than Republicans to blame Trump for the assault, nearly half of all Republicans agreed that Trump was at least “partially” responsible.

Still, when asked what the Senate should do in response, a smaller proportion of the country, including smaller percentages of Democrats and Republicans, said they would go so far as to convict Trump of insurrection.

Fifty percent of those polled said they would convict Trump if they were given a vote. Another 38% said Trump should not be convicted, and 12% said they were not sure.

Fifty-three percent said Trump should be barred from holding public office again, while 39% said he should be allowed to.

The Senate impeachment trial was expected to conclude on Saturday. A conviction requires a two-thirds majority, meaning at least 17 Republicans in the 100-seat chamber would have to join all 50 Democrats to find Trump guilty. That seemed unlikely.

Trump’s lawyers say Trump did not intend to unleash a riot at the Capitol, and that he was exercising his constitutional right to free speech when he addressed his supporters.

About 73% of those polled said they had decided whether Trump should be convicted or not before the Senate trial started, and the other 27% made up their minds during the trial.

The Ipsos poll was conducted in English across the United States. It gathered responses from 998 adults between the ages of 18 and 65, and the survey sample was weighted using the latest population estimates to better reflect the American public. The results have a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of 4 percentage points.

Reporting by Chris Kahn; editing by Diane Craft