The Premise Poll: About one-half of Americans favor indictment of Trump if AG Garland believes Trump committed illegal acts

Press Release


More than half of Americans believe Trump bears responsibility for January 6th takeover of U.S. Capitol.

By a more than 3 to 1 margin of 58% to 19%, respondents say Trump had “obligation” to disperse crowd.

SAN FRANCISCOAug. 17, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Premise, the global on-demand data insights company based in San Francisco, today disclosed the results of its latest Premise Poll, including more than 1,000 Premise public app participants across the nation, which indicated about half (49%) of the sample favors the indictment of former President Donald Trump if Attorney General Merrick Garland believes there is evidence Trump committed illegal acts.

In addition, more than half of the Premise survey participants (54%) believe Trump bears “some” or “a lot” of “responsibility” for the takeover of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Fifty-eight percent of participants said the former president should have taken action to disperse the crowd outside of the Capitol. This constituted more than a 3 to 1 margin over those who did not think he should have taken such action.

Regarding the crowd that invaded the Capitol and overran Capitol Police, the disapproval margins are overwhelming, including many Republicans and presumably some Trump supporters. Seventy-four percent “strongly” or “somewhat disapproved” of what the crowd of Trump supporters did in taking over the Capitol versus 14% who did not. Those who “strongly disapproved” greatly outnumbered those who “strongly approved” – by a 59% to 4% (more than 13 to 1) margin.

  • 84% of Democrats, compared to 25% of Republicans, believe Trump has “some” or “a lot” of responsibility for the takeover of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.
  • 87% of Democrats, in comparison to 36% of Republicans, feel Trump had an obligation to take action to disperse the crowd that assembled outside of the Capitol.
  • 90% of Democrats, compared to 49% of Republicans, say Trump’s supporters committed illegal acts on the day in question.

Though Americans are divided along party lines, they are united in that their minds are made up about the former president. Indeed, the wall-to-wall coverage of the House Select Committee hearings on January 6th in June and July appears to have had little impact of Americans’ views of the previous commander-in-chief.

One shocking reason, according to The Premise Poll, when asked whether they had watched “any” of the televised House Select Committee hearings, just 31% of participants in the sample said they had done so. Sixty-nine percent said they had not watched “any” of the hearings on T.V.

The viewership of the hearings, not surprisingly, is different between Republicans and Democrats. Just 23% of Republicans indicated they watched any of the hearings. A minority of those who watched in both parties said that the coverage had changed their views of Trump.

Also significant is how few Americans as a whole, according to the Premise sample, have changed their minds over the past month about Trump’s responsibility for the January 6th takeover of the Capitol. Seventy-five percent say they have not changed their minds at all, while only 25% say they have changed their minds “a lot” or “somewhat.”

“These results show that the country is split on whether Donald Trump should be indicted based on the attorney general’s judgment,” said Premise CEO Maury Blackman, “but, when specific examples of possible wrongdoing by Mr. Trump are asked, such as responsibility for the January 6th attack on the Capitol or failure to take action to disperse the crowd, the results show most Americans hold Mr. Trump responsible.”

“Yet, it is striking how few people have said they changed their minds over the last month – 75% of participants in the sample said, ‘not at all.” Blackman suggested this might be a function of different levels of coverage by the cable networks – with some providing virtually 100% live coverage while others much less or not at all.

Disclosure of methodology

These results are based on responses from 1,022 Americans collected between August 5 and August 8, 2022, via the Premise smartphone application. Premise randomly sampled its opt-in panel members, stratified on Age, Gender, Region, and Race & Ethnicity, based on the 2019 American Community Survey (ACS). The Topline is weighted by Age, Gender, Region, Race & Ethnicity, and Education benchmarked against the 2019 ACS estimates. The largest weight is 5.5, the smallest weight is 0.36, and the standard deviation of weights is .53. Complete crosstabs of the data can be viewed here.


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