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Elon Poll finds NC divided on Trump’s responsibility for U.S. Capitol violence

The Elon University Poll has found that nearly 60 percent of North Carolina residents believe former President Donald J. Trump was very or somewhat responsible for the violence at the U.S. Capitol last month, but are less supportive of his impeachment related to the Jan. 6 insurrection.

The survey found that 47 percent support the impeachment proceedings against him, while 43 percent oppose them and 10 percent say they don’t know. The survey results follow the impeachment of the former president by the U.S. House last month, with the U.S. Senate now preparing to try Trump on a charge of inciting violence against the U.S. government.

If convicted by the Senate on the impeachment charge, Trump could be banned from running for president again, a move the Elon Poll found is supported by 51 percent of N.C. residents and opposed by 40 percent, with 9 percent saying they don’t know.

The Elon Poll also found that 49 percent of North Carolinians approve of the job Joe Biden is doing as president, with 52 percent saying they approve of the job Roy Cooper is doing as governor.

This release is the first of three from a survey of 1,455 adult residents of North Carolina that was conducted Jan. 29-31 using an online opt-in sample marketplace. The survey has a credibility interval of +/- 2.7 percentage points. The credibility interval is an accuracy measure for opt-in online surveys. A fuller explanation of the credibility interval and the survey methodology are available in the full report.

The survey was conducted by the Elon Poll in partnership with The Charlotte Observer, The Durham Herald-Sun and The Raleigh News & Observer.

U.S. Capitol violence, impeachment and the 2024 election

Trump has been criticized and now faces a trial in the U.S. Senate on a charge that he incited a crowd gathered near the U.S. Capitol to violence as he voiced his opposition to the results of the 2020 presidential election. Following remarks by Trump and others, members of the crowd stormed the Capitol, where members of Congress were working to certify the results of the election.

The survey found that 42 percent of residents believe Trump is “very responsible” for the violence, 17 percent believe Trump is “somewhat responsible” while 14 percent believe the former president is “only a little responsible” and 28 percent believe he is “not at all responsible.”

How responsible North Carolinians believe Trump is for the violence at the U.S. Capitol varies greatly by political party affiliation and race, the Elon Poll has found. Among Democrats, 74 percent believe Trump to be “very responsible” for the violence, compared to 9 percent of Republicans and 39 percent of those who belong to neither political party. Fifty-five percent of Republicans believe the former president is “not at all responsible” for the violence at the Capitol, compared to 7 percent of Democrats and 24 percent of those who belong to neither party.

Two-thirds of Black North Carolinians believe Trump is “very responsible” for the violence compared to 35 percent of Whites and 44 percent of members of other racial demographic groups. An equal portion of Whites — 34 percent — believe Trump is “not at all responsible” while 12 percent of Blacks and 19 percent of members of other racial demographic groups hold that view.

Older residents were more likely to say that Trump was not responsible for the violence at the Capitol than younger residents. There was little variation in opinion between men and women.

Similar splits were evident over support for the impeachment of the former president. Democrats and Black residents were far more likely to support Trump’s impeachment than White residents and Republicans, with older residents more likely to oppose Trump’s impeachment.

Opinions about whether Trump can run for president again in the future if he is convicted by the Senate also showed similar splits along political and demographic lines. Democrats and Black residents were much more likely to say Trump should not be able to run again than Republicans and White residents. Older residents were more likely to oppose such a prohibition than younger residents, and there was little difference in opinion based on gender.

A second release of results from this survey related to vaccination efforts in North Carolina is scheduled for Feb. 9. The final release with results related to the question of marijuana legalization in North Carolina is scheduled for Feb. 11.