By Joseph M. Hanneman
An increasing majority of American voters believe the federal government had a role in inciting violence at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, a national poll has found.
The Rasmussen Reports poll of 963 likely U.S. voters found 65 percent believe that undercover federal agents helped provoke rioting at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
That result was up 4 percent from a March poll, taken before now-former Fox News host Tucker Carlson aired several previously unreleased security videos from the Capitol.
Forty-six percent of those polled said they believe it is “very likely” government agents helped provoke violence at the Capitol. Some 26 percent said they don’t believe the government provoked rioting, including 12 percent who think it is “not at all likely.”
Carlson’s producers spent several weeks looking through more than 41,000 hours of Jan. 6 video, with exclusive access provided by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).
A series of specials aired on Fox the first week of March detailed Carlson’s findings. They showed Jan. 6 defendant Jacob Chansley—the so-called QAnon Shaman—being led around inside the Capitol and let into the U.S. Senate chamber by Capitol Police.
The release of the video clips on Fox sparked outrage from Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). Schumer called on Fox owner Rupert Murdoch to stop Carlson from showing Jan. 6 security video footage.
Rasmussen found that 67 percent of voters reported they closely followed news about the Jan. 6 videos, including 39 percent who followed the news “very closely.”
Thirty-two percent of respondents said the new videos made them more likely to believe supporters of former President Donald Trump engaged in an “illegal insurrection,” while an equal 32 percent said they are less likely to believe in the “insurrection” narrative as a result of the new Jan. 6 videos.
Another person discussed in Carlson’s broadcast was Ray Epps, a former Arizona Oath Keepers leader who was famously captured on camera a day before the Jan. 6, 2021, protests urging people to enter the U.S. Capitol.
In a CBS “60 Minutes” segment aired on April 23, Epps accused Carlson of targeting him. “He’s obsessed with me,” Epps told CBS correspondent Bill Whitaker. “He’s going to any means necessary to destroy my life and our lives.” The FBI told the network that “Ray Epps has never been an FBI source or an FBI employee.”
Results of the Rasmussen poll, taken April 12, 13, and 16, were just the latest indicator that the public wants to know more about what is on the 41,000 hours of security video, most of which has been kept from public view by court order.
A Rasmussen Reports poll released on March 2 found that 80 percent of likely U.S. voters believe it is important that the public be able to view all the videos of the Capitol riot, including 58 percent who think it’s very important. Only 17 percent said they don’t think it’s important for the public to be able to see all the Jan. 6 videos.