As Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi picks members of a select committee to investigate the riots of January 6, a new poll finds that many Americans believe she’s focusing on the wrong riots.
One-third more Americans believe Congress should hold investigative hearings about last summer’s “Black Lives Matter protests that sparked violence” than think lawmakers ought to probe the riot at the capitol on January 6.
In all, two out of three likely U.S. voters say they believe Congress should open an official investigation into “the violent protests” which blazed a trail of arson and looting through major and mid-sized cities nationwide. On the other hand, fewer than half (49%) of Americans support Pelosi’s investigation of the D.C. riot in which rioters protesting the 2020 presidential election results stormed the capitol.
Support for a federal inquiry into the riots that engulfed U.S. cities after the death of George Floyd cut deep across racial and political lines. “Sixty-seven percent (67%) of whites, 64% of black voters, 66% of Hispanics and 62% of other minorities think Congress should investigate the 2020 riots in U.S. cities,” reported Rasmussen Reports. “Seventy-five percent (75%) of Republicans, 60% of Democrats and 63% of voters not affiliated with either major party say Congress should investigate last year’s violent protests.”
The Speaker’s controversial select committee stands on shakier ground. Americans were almost evenly divided on whether members of Congress should launch another examination of the Capitol riot, which Pelosi and her fellow Democrats label an “insurrection”: 42% of respondents told pollsters that the event does not merit a national inquest, with 49% in favor. By contrast, only 21% of Americans said Congress should not investigate the riots surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement.
The riots were the most expensive in U.S. history, costing insurance companies an estimated $1 billion to $2 billion, according to Property Claim Services. That estimate only includes the share of the damage insurance companies cover.
The riots also left hundreds of policemen and civilians injured, and dozens killed, in their wake. “Approximately, 72% of major city law enforcement agencies had officers harmed” during last summer’s riots, according to the Major Cities Chiefs Association. A single police agency “reported that 462 of [its] officers were injured during the protests in [its] jurisdiction.”
Tragically, at least 27 people died during the riots.
“Many elected officials of both parties and at all levels followed up, not by apologizing to their citizens for failing to uphold the law, but by accusing police officers of systemic racism, being in need of reform, reimagining and defunding,” said Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith (Ret), a spokesperson for the National Police Association, in a statement.
The poll also found:
- 62% of voters believe politicians who downplayed the riots should be criticized, 11 points higher than those who believe politicians should be called out for minimizing the importance of the D.C. riot;
- 63% believe looters and rioters who broke the law last summer should be charged and criminally prosecuted;
- 65% say President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris should meet with the family of former St. Louis Police captain David Dorn, who was slain by rioters;
- 68% believe failing to prosecute “quality of life” crimes like shoplifting make criminals more likely to reoffend; and
- 76% of likely voters say young people ought to be taught to obey police officers’ lawful commands instead of resisting or fleeing arrest.
The results, which come from a poll released by Rasmussen and the National Police Association last Wednesday, follow a poll in April that found 55% of likely voters believe anti-police rhetoric makes police officers’ jobs more dangerous.