Half a century after Watergate swept the country and eventually led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon, the remarkable revelations of the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurgency compete with other distractions in a deeply divided nation.
A new Quinnipiac University Poll found that nearly 6 in 10 Americans follow news about the commission’s work at least somewhat closely, though only about a quarter say they follow it very closely. So far, the poll found, the hearings don’t seem to change their minds about whether Trump committed a crime, with 46% of adults saying he did and 47% saying he didn’t. .
Many Americans seem to have simply dropped out, with Republicans citing their disdain for the committee’s predominantly Democratic composition, lack of interest in yet another divisive issue from Washington, or the simple fact that they are busy with summer and exhausted by the politics.
“I really think they’re just after Trump,” said Bill Kumle, a Republican retiree in Atlanta. “They’re not looking for the truth.”
The findings — so far, are largely seen through a well-known partisan lens that has dominated the Trump era.
“The committee is generally more inclined on the liberal side than on the conservative side and it’s not something that interests me,” said George Nozick, who picked up bits and pieces of the hearing through news accounts. “With inflation, gas, the border and everything else, I choose to take it easy.”
Nozick is one of the Republicans in Georgia who never believed Trump’s false claims that he won the state, which is again emerging as a pivotal battleground in November’s midterm elections. And Nozick believes the former president crossed a line when he called Georgia’s foreign minister Brad Raffensperger to “find 11,780 votes” to usurp the will of voters. Republican voters in the Peach State rebuked Trump’s efforts to oust Raffensperger — along with GOP Governor Brian Kemp, who had also rejected Trump’s pleas to undo the 2020 election — in primaries earlier this year.
“Our ex-president is just focused on his own wants and needs,” Nozick said. “For me that’s not good. You have to move on and accept what is there and move on from there.”
Still, Nozick said he did not see the value of the committee’s investigation. He said he would read the final conclusions but would prefer the country and his party to move on.
Read more about Americans’ reactions to the hearings here.