51 Percent of Americans Believe Capitol Riots Were Attempted Coup: Poll

A slim majority of Americans believe the attack on the U.S. Capitol by President Donald Trump's supporters was an attempted coup, a new poll shows.

Hundreds of Trump's supporters attacked the nation's Capitol on Wednesday after the president encouraged them to march to the building and confront lawmakers, who were convened to certify President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory. Trump told his supporters that they should "fight much harder," while his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani said he wanted "trial by combat."

New polling by Ipsos released on Thursday found that 51 percent of Americans view the actions of Trump's supporters as an attempted coup. Additionally, 70 percent of Americans said they opposed the violent insurrection. At the same time, the polling found that 19 percent of American backed the riot, while 31 percent said the protests were necessary to protect the nation.

Similar polling released by YouGov on Thursday morning showed that 45 percent of Republicans back the pro-Trump assault on the nation's Capitol. Unsurprisingly, the vast majority—96 percent—of Democrats said they were opposed to the violence, which was aimed at overturning Biden's election.

Trump supporters
Rioters supporting President Donald Trump storm the U.S. Capitol on January 6 in Washington, D.C. A slim majority of Americans view their actions as an attempted coup, according to a new poll by Ipsos. Win McNamee/Getty

The president and his loyalist supporters continue to push unfounded claims that Biden won the election through widespread voter fraud. This extraordinary allegation has been rejected by judges in more than 50 lawsuits filed by the president and his supporters. Even judges appointed by Trump and fellow Republicans have dismissed the cases, pointing out that the lawyers have not provided evidence to back their claims.

Even after the violence unfolded, Trump expressed support for the rioters. "These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously and viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long," the president tweeted Wednesday afternoon.

Trump also released a video message after the invasion had been ongoing for several hours, telling his supporters he loved them and that describing them as "very special." He told them to go home and to be peaceful.

Now there is serious discussion of removing Trump from office using the 25th Amendment. A growing number of lawmakers, including at least one Republican, have called on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the amendment alongside the majority of the Cabinet to remove Trump immediately. Biden will take office in just under two weeks on January 20, but Pence would serve until then if the 25th Amendment were used.

"Sadly, yesterday it became evident that not only has the president abdicated his duty to protect the American people and the people's House, he invoked and inflamed passions that only gave fuel to the insurrection that we saw here," Representative Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican, said in a video posted to Twitter on Thursday morning. "It's time to invoke the 25th Amendment and to end this nightmare."

Notably, Kinzinger described the attack as a "coup" via Twitter as it played out on Wednesday. "This is a coup attempt," he wrote.

This is a coup attempt.

— Adam Kinzinger (@RepKinzinger) January 6, 2021

Presumptive Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, issued the same call on Thursday as well.

"What happened at the U.S. Capitol yesterday was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president," he said in a statement. "This president should not hold office one day longer."

Whether the 25th Amendment will be invoked remains to be seen, but Trump administration officials have been resigning in mass since yesterday. Republican Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma told reporters that Pence is "very upset" with Trump.