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Pennsylvania voters are paying attention to Jan. 6 committee hearings, poll finds

State Sen. Doug Mastriano, the Republican nominee for governor, attended the ‘Stop the Steal’ rally before the U.S. Capitol attack.

By Nick Vachon - July 07, 2022
Rioters at the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021

Polling conducted last week found that a large majority of Pennsylvania voters are aware of the U.S. House investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection and that majorities both support the committee and are concerned about its findings.

The poll, which surveyed 582 likely voters over text and landline phones, was conducted June 28-29 by Public Policy Polling in collaboration with the Defend Democracy Project, a nonprofit tied to the Democratic Party that describes its mission as ensuring “that American voters determine the outcome of elections.” The poll’s margin of error is 4.1%.

According to the survey, 78% of voters said they had heard “a lot” or “some” about the hearings, which began last month on June 10 with a prime time, pre-recorded hearing covered live by all major cable news networks aside from Fox. The first hearing drew more than 20 million viewers, according to Nielsen, more than this year’s Grammy Awards or Academy Awards shows and comparable to Sunday Night Football.

The survey respondents’ approval of the committee and its investigation tracks with Pennsylvanians’ support for President Joe Biden. Roughly half (52%) of Pennsylvania voters surveyed for the poll said they support the investigation. Biden won Pennsylvania with 50% of the vote in 2020.

Meanwhile, 73% of Pennsylvania Republican voters said they opposed the investigation, and slightly smaller majorities said they neither were concerned about former President Donald Trump’s efforts to pressure local officials in states like Pennsylvania nor regarded Trump loyalists in the Republican party as responsible for the Jan. 6 riots.

But at least one of the committee’s major findings appears to have broken through the partisan divide: 44% of Republicans said they were “seriously” or “somewhat seriously” concerned with the revelation that Trump had demanded then-Vice President Mike Pence overturn the election, and pressured Pence when he refused to cooperate.

The hearings are particularly relevant in Pennsylvania, one of the battleground swing states that was a major target of Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election.

“The ongoing hearings are critically important in helping the American public understand exactly what was at stake not only on January 6, but that there was plotting and planning going on before January 6,” former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said at a press conference about the poll’s findings.

“When it comes to Pennsylvania specifically, one of our own, Representative Scott Perry, is currently under subpoena by the committee and it’s known that Donald Trump pressured Pennsylvania officials in an attempt to overturn Pennsylvania’s chosen slate of electors,” he added.

Pennsylvania State Sen. Doug Mastriano, the GOP nominee for governor, is arguably the highest-profile Jan. 6 attendee running in this year’s midterm elections with Trump’s endorsement. Mastriano led the effort by Pennsylvania Republicans to spread misinformation about the 2020 election; in November 2020, he held a state Senate hearing on alleged fraud that featured both testimony from Trump’s senior legal adviser Rudy Giuliani and a call from Trump himself.

Mastriano then spent more than $4,000 of his own campaign money chartering buses to take supporters to the Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the insurrection. At least five of his supporters have been charged with crimes for their participation, including at least one of whom traveled to Washington, D.C., that day on a bus Mastriano chartered.

Four Republicans including Mastriano have been subpoenaed by the Jan. 6 committee. Perry, the chair of the House Freedom Caucus, refused to sit for a deposition after a Jan. 6 committee subpoena, and called the committee a “kangaroo court” engaged in “a breathtaking abuse of power aimed at perpetuating political theater, vilifying and destroying political opponents, and distracting from the destruction it’s perpetrating upon the American people.”

Perry is a person of interest to the committee because of his role in introducing Trump to Jeffrey Clark, the former acting head of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Division who reportedly pressured the department to help Trump overturn Biden’s victory in Georgia. According to the committee, Perry tried to secure a presidential pardon from Trump in the administration’s waning days for his role in trying to overturn the 2020 election. Perry has denied that claim.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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