Jan. 6 Committee Is Battling Monkeypox, Gas Prices, Guns for U.S. Attention

Nearly a year and half since the Capitol was stormed by a pro-Trump mob, the House committee investigating the January 6 riot will present its findings to the American public for the first time on Thursday—but the hearing that's planning to unveil just how things escalated to such violence that day will be fighting to capture America's attention.

Both parties are anxiously awaiting the evidence that committee members will present after months of interviewing top government officials and examining thousands of documents from the Trump administration.

For the Democrats, the hearing could be instrumental in helping them prevent the GOP from taking back the House. But the investigation could fall flat as a midterm strategy if voters tune out of their findings over concerns about other issues facing the U.S.

"We already know that voters are less interested in the January 6 attack than they were previously," Democratic pollster Carly Cooperman told Newsweek. "Time has passed, and public attention has shifted to the war in Ukraine, gun violence and concerns about the economy."

January 6 Committee Monkeypox Gas Prices Guns
The House committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riot will hold its first hearing on Thursday. Above, Committee members Representatives Jamie Raskin and Liz Cheney are seen at a committee meeting on Capitol Hill March 28, in Washington, D.C. Drew Angerer/Getty

Polling shows that inflation has remained as the top issue for most Americans and that voters plan to cast their ballots with the current economic situation in mind.

More than eight in 10 Americans say the economy is an extremely or very important issue in determining how they will vote this November, according to a new ABC News/Ipsos poll released on Sunday.

In the survey, 80 percent of Americans say inflation—which is hovering around a four-decade high—will be a key factor in how they vote, while 74 percent say the same about rising fuel prices. This week, gas in the U.S. went up another 25 cents, with the national average nearing $5 a gallon, according to the American Automobile Association.

Concern over inflation has dramatically escalated in recent months. Last month, only 52 percent of Americans identified inflation as the most important issue facing the country in a FiveThirtyEight poll. And those worries were even lower in April, when a Gallup poll found that four in 10 Americans named it as the most important problem—suggesting that anxieties over inflation have nearly doubled in two months.

jan6 vs inflation trends

The poll—which was conducted after the recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas—also found that voters are extremely concerned about gun violence in the country. As Congress attempts to find a bipartisan path to passing gun legislation, 72 percent of voters say the issue will be an extremely important one on the ballot.

More than 60 percent of Americans also say abortion rights will drive the vote following last month's Supreme Court leak that suggested justices were prepared to overturn the landmark 1970 Roe v. Wade case.

Interest in monkeypox has also jumped ahead of the January 6 Capitol riot recently and could continue to dominate the attention of Americans after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention elevated its travel advisory for the disease this week after more cases are being confirmed around the world.

jan6 vs inflation vs monkeypox trends

At the same time, polling also indicates that Americans on both side of the aisle are growing tired of tuning into politics—a bad sign for the January 6 commission.

Americans remain deeply distrustful and dissatisfied with the government, according to a new poll released by Pew Research this week. More than six in 10 say that most political candidates run for office "to serve their own personal interests" rather than for the American public.

A CNN survey from last month also found that more than half of Americans describe themselves as "burned out" and less than 10 percent feeling like their side is actually winning.

But Brad Bauman, CEO of progressive communications firm Fireside Campaigns, pointed out to Newsweek that the last couple of years have forced the American people to reconsider the nation's democracy and that the renewed spotlight could work to the advantage of the House panel.

"The Democratic party needs to draw a line in the sand and definitively say that there are sides here, and you are either on the side of believing in our Founding Fathers, our democracy and the promise of what America could be if it holds to its professed values, or you aren't," Bauman said.