A pro-Trump mob breaks into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Photo by Win McNamee | Getty Images
Protecting elections and a backlash to the failed January 6 insurrection drove Republican and independent voters to split their tickets, giving Democrats in top races the support they needed to pull off unexpected victories, according to new polling data.
The data, compiled by Citizen Data and Protect Democracy, polled voters in five swing states: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Across those states, 60% of respondents said that protecting democracy was “very important” in determining their voting decision.
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Voters were also asked to rank their top three most important issues when voting in the midterm, and “protecting elections” ranked third and fourth across the states. In Arizona, it was listed as the fourth-most important issue, with 36% of respondents saying it was their primary focus. Inflation, abortion and immigration took the top three spots in Arizona.
Approximately 20% of voters in the five battleground states said preventing another January 6-style incident was one of their main priorities. The January 6 Committee hearings also played a role in voter decisions, the data showed.
Over 90% of people who had heard about the committee’s work said that the hearings were either somewhat or very important to their midterm vote, with only 7% saying it wasn’t important at all. Among those who had heard about the hearings, 45.5% said it factored into their voting decisions.
In Arizona, registered Republicans and independents who split their votes among GOP and Democratic candidates ranked January 6 as a higher issue than voters who voted only for a single political party. Arizona also had the highest percentage of ticket-splitters who ranked January 6 as an issue, with 20.9% calling it a top issue. That was more than three points greater than the 17.5% of voters who said the same in Wisconsin, the next-highest state.
Those who chose to split their ticket often listed support of January 6 as a major reason for doing so, though spreading of conspiracy theories, support of former President Donald Trump and extremist views ranked higher.
“It is easy to imagine if there was no January 6 committee, that the events of that day would have faded,” Kristy Parker, an attorney at Protect Democracy and a former federal civil rights prosecutor said during a presentation of the data. Parker added that the committee helped people understand what happened that day and start to create layers of accountability.
Mindy Finn, CEO of Citizen Data, which conducted the polling, said that this is the fourth poll the firm has conducted related to January 6 to see how it has impacted voter opinions over time.
“The more voters hear and learn from the committee, the more likely they are to penalize politicians connected to January 6,” Finn said. “The data is pretty clear that not only January 6 was very important, but so was the committee itself for voters.”
Finn added that the data also dispels a belief that democracy itself isn’t a “kitchen table issue” and it is one that voters are really paying attention to now.
“This data really sends a different message,” Finn said. “Just knowing that these issues do matter and they do resonate.”
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