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Poll shows Minnesotans tuned into Jan. 6 probe

Pollsters find most Minnesotans see the special committee's investigation as important for democracy.

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesotans have turned into the House Select Committee on the January 6 attack hearings, a new poll finds.

Although the committee's plans to hold hearings were originally dismissed by pundits, the testimony of witnesses captured and held the nation's attention.

A poll conducted by Public Policy Polling August 31 to Sept 1, found a whopping 82% of Minnesotans have seen, heard or read about the House panel's hearings on the attack on the U.S. Capitol the day the 2020 presidential election results were certified by Congress.

Pollsters also found that 53% of Minnesotans support the underlying investigation, and 65% say those hearings are important to protecting democracy in America. Even some respondents who voted for Donald Trump in 2020 said the hearings are worthwhile.

"There's a small group of Trump folks who are absorbing this investigation and it's giving them some pause," Jim Williams of Public Policy Polling told KARE.

Only 7% of those surveyed thought the events of January 6th were solely Donald Trump's fault, while most thought it was both Trump and his Republican loyalists were to blame in the unsuccessful attempt to block the certification of the Electoral College votes.

When asked how concerned they were that the president demanded Vice President Pence stop the certification even after being told by staff there wasn't evidence of widespread fraud, 70% said they had either very serious or somewhat serious concerns.

The poll was commissioned by the Defend Democracy Project, a national organization raising red flags across the country about Republican candidates who deny Donald Trump lost the 2020 election. The group is especially concerned about those running for offices that control the election process in states.

"It's really important that people are aware that these people are running for office and that they're aware of the findings of the January 6th hearings and investigations," Nicole Haley of Defend Democracy Project told KARE.

She said it goes beyond Republican candidates looking to tighten voting rules, noting efforts by Trump allies to substitute the actual slates of electors with those who would accept the unproven voter fraud narrative.

"When you have election deniers running for office across the country, they’re working to take away your right to vote at the end of the day."

A full list of the questions and responses, and demographic information on those who were surveyed can be found at the bottom of this article.

The one Minnesota-specific question in the poll related to Kim Crockett, the Republican candidate for Secretary of State, asked respondents how concerned they were that Crockett has called the 2020 election "illegitimate" and is part of a national effort to recruit conservative voters to serve county election ballot boards.

In response, 53% said that gave them very serious concerns and another 12% had somewhat serious concerns.

Crockett, who is an attorney and writer who has worked on ballot integrity issues for many years, is running for the office that oversees and promotes elections in Minnesota.  She is working to unseat incumbent Secretary of State Steve Simon, a Democrat who is seeking his third four-year term.

In an appearance on Rep. Jeremy Munson's podcast last year, she agreed with Munson's assessment that the election was illegitimate because of all the temporary rules changes during the pandemic.

"People have called me an election denier and I always ask them, 'What does that mean? How are you defining that'?" Crockett told KARE.

"I reject that whole narrative. I think it’s an extension of cancel culture. It’s an attempt to stop people from debating the issues."

Trump lost Minnesota by 233,000 votes, but Crockett isn't willing to say outright that he actually lost here. 

When asked if it's possible that Trump actually won Minnesota, she answered, "I have no way of knowing that. I'm just a citizen like you and anybody else walking down the street."

Crockett said that people's doubts about the outcome of the 2020 election has torn families apart and strained a lot of relationships. She asserts that won't improve until Minnesota adopts tighter election rules, such as voter ID requirement, provisional ballots, and ending the practice of letting friends vouch for new voters without ID.

"My singular goal is to get rock solid policy in place, so we can stop fighting about who won."

Minnesotans in 2012 rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that would've added voter ID to the state constitution. Republican lawmakers now maintain the voter ID amendment would've passed that year if not for another question they put on the same ballot, one that would've banned same sex marriage. Both questions failed.

Crockett has been highly critical of incumbent Secretary of State Steve Simon for agreeing to a court decree that allowed temporary rules changes in 2020 for absentee ballots. Due to COVID, voters weren't required to get a witness signature. And mail-in ballots could arrive seven days after the polls closed and still be counted.

The decree grew out of the LaRose v Simon lawsuit, filed by Minnesotans involved in national groups that contended the witness signature requirement and voting in person would put older voters at risk of catching the virus. The plaintiffs also were concerned the U.S. Postal System would be overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of mail-in ballots.

Assistant Chief Ramsey County Judge Sara Grewing issued the decree to settle the case out of court as ballot deadlines approached. Judge Grewing has since been targeted by conservatives who often note she previously worked on Sen. Amy Klobuchar's staff before being appointed to the bench by then-Gov. Mark Dayton.

Days before the election, in the federal case of James Carson v Steve Simon, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Simon didn't have the authority to waive any of the normal voting rules without permission of the legislature.

The panel of federal judges acknowledged the case could be tied up in the courts well past election day. So, they ordered that ballots that arrived after Election Day could be counted, but they had to be set aside in separate piles in the event of future litigation.

Minnesota is one of just nine states that require both the voter's signature and a witness signature on the absentee ballot's outer envelope. County absentee ballot boards compare the signatures with the signatures on file for those voters.

Crockett and other conservatives have decried the fact that in larger cities elections staff members are deputized to serve on the absentee ballot board, when traditionally those ballots' outer envelopes were reviewed by one Democrat and one Republican. Lawsuits attempting to end the practice of staff members reviewing absentee ballots are still pending.

Watch more Minnesota politics:

Watch the latest political coverage from the Land of 10,000 Lakes in our YouTube playlist:

Defend Democracy Project poll demographics

Public Policy Polling surveyed 622 Minnesota voters from August 31-September 1, 2022. The margin of error is +/- 3.9%. 66% of interviews for the survey were conducted by text message and 34% by telephone.

When asked what party they belong to, 32% identified themselves as Democrats, 29% as Republicans and 38% as independents. In that same group of respondents, 42% said they voted for Donald Trump in 2020, while 49% said they voted for Biden and 9% said they voted for someone else or didn't vote.

Fifty-three percent were women while 47% were men. The demographic breakdown shows 84% identified as white, while 16% identified as non-white. As to the age spread in the survey, 35% said they were in the 18 to 45 age range, while 39% were ages 46 to 65, and 26% were older than 65.

Defend Democracy Project poll questions and responses

Question 1 - As you may know, there is currently an investigation by the U.S. House of Representatives into what happened on January 6th at the Capitol and the events leading up to it. How much have you seen, heard, or read about these hearings: a lot, some, just a little, or nothing at all?

A lot: 53%

Some: 29%

Just a little: 12%

Nothing at all: 4%

Not sure: 1%

Question 2 - Generally speaking, do you support or oppose this investigation by the U.S. House of Representatives into what happened on January 6th at the Capitol?

Support the investigation: 53%

Oppose the investigation: 39%

Not sure: 8%

Question 3 - How important do you think the investigation by the U.S. House of Representatives into what happened on January 6th is when it comes to protecting democracy: very important, somewhat important, or not important?

Very important: 54%

Somewhat important: 11%

Not important: 32%

Not sure: 3%

Question 4 - Now, I’m going to read you a few things that have been uncovered as part of the investigation and hearings. And after each one, ask you if it gives you very serious concerns, somewhat serious concerns, or no real concerns. Here’s the first one: Some of Donald Trump’s lawyers and even the Attorney General told him and his allies there was no widespread voter fraud, but they decided to tell people there was anyway. Does hearing this give you very serious concerns, somewhat serious concerns, or no real concerns?

Very serious concerns: 52%

Somewhat serious concerns: 18%

No real concerns: 28%

Not sure: 3%

Question 5 - Here’s the next one: Donald Trump demanded that his Vice President, Mike Pence, overturn the election result for him even after White House lawyers told him it was illegal. Does hearing this give you very serious concerns, somewhat serious concerns, or no real concerns?

Very serious concerns: 56%

Somewhat serious concerns: 11%

No real concerns: 30%

Not sure: 3%

Question 6 - Here’s the next one: Donald Trump knew that many of his supporters attending his rally on January 6th were heavily armed, yet he instructed them to march on the Capitol anyway, told them to “fight like hell,” and even wanted metal detectors removed. Does hearing this give you very serious concerns, somewhat serious concerns, or no real concerns?

Very serious concerns: 54%

Somewhat serious concerns: 6%

No real concerns: 37%

Not sure: 3%

Question 7 - Here’s the next one: When Donald Trump returned to the White House from his January 6th rally, he was told almost immediately that the Capitol was under siege, yet he refused for over three hours to do anything and, instead, fanned the flames and encouraged the rioters to continue. Does hearing this give you very serious concerns, somewhat serious concerns, or no real concerns?

Very serious concerns: 54%

Somewhat serious concerns: 9%

No real concerns: 34%

Not sure: 3%

Question 8 - Here’s the next one: Republican nominee for Secretary of State Kim Crockett is also an election denier. Working with a local group, Crockett has asserted that the results of the 2020 election are illegitimate, believes Minnesota has the "worst" election laws in America, and is part of a right-wing network that is recruiting an army of activists to use county boards to make voting more difficult. Does hearing this give you very serious concerns, somewhat serious concerns, or no real concerns?

Very serious concerns: 53%

Somewhat serious concerns: 12%

No real concerns: 30%

Not sure: 5%

Question 9 - When you think about concerns you have with what happened on January 6th and the effort to overturn elections, do you think that it’s really only a problem with Donald Trump, or also a problem with the members of the Republican Party as a whole who are loyalists to Donald Trump, or do you think it’s not a problem?

Only a problem with Donald Trump: 7%

Also a problem with the members of the Republican Party as a whole who are loyalists to Donald Trump: 50%

It's not a problem: 38%

Not sure 5%

Question 10 - If a candidate for office downplayed the events of January 6th and opposed the House of Representatives’ work investigating it, would that make you less likely or more likely to vote for that candidate, or would it not make a difference?

Less likely: 49%

More likely: 18%

Wouldn't make a difference: 26%

Not sure: 7%

Question 11 - Many Republican officials oppose the work of the committee investigating the events of January 6th. Does hearing this make you less likely or more likely to vote for Republicans this fall, or does it not make a difference?

Less likely: 45%

More likely: 31%

Doesn't make a difference: 21%

Not sure: 3%

Question 12 - Do you think Donald Trump and his team who took part in the insurrection on January 6th should be criminally prosecuted, or not?

Should be criminally prosecuted: 50%

Should not be criminally prosecuted: 42%

Not sure: 8%

Question 13 - Do you think those elected officials who let Trump’s violent January 6th happen and who supported his overturning of election results should be held accountable for their actions, or not?

Should be held accountable for their actions: 52%

Should not be held accountable for their actions: 37%

Not sure: 11%

Question 14 - In the 2020 election for President, did you vote for Republican Donald Trump, Democrat Joe Biden, someone else, or did you not vote in the election?

Donald Trump: 42%

Joe Biden: 49%

Someone else / Did not vote: 9%

Question 15 - If you are a woman, press 1. If a man, press 2.

Woman: 53%

Man: 47%

Question 16 - If you are a Democrat, press 1. If a Republican, press 2. If an independent, press 3.

Democrat: 32%

Republican: 29%

Independent: 38%

Question 17 - If you are white, press 1. If other, press 2.

White: 84%

Other: 16%

Question 18 - If you are 18-45 years old, press 1. If 46-65, press 2. If older than 65, press 3.

18 to 45: 35%

46 to 65: 39%

Older than 65: 26%

Question 19 - What is the highest level of education you have received: high school graduate or less, some college but did not finish, 2-year college degree, 4-year college degree, or post-graduate degree?

High school graduate or less: 24%

Some college but did not finish: 24%

2-year college degree: 11%

4-year college degree: 26%

Post-graduate degree: 14%

Question 20 - Have you watched any of the hearings about the January 6th investigation, or not?

Yes: 62%

No: 38%

Question 21 - How confident are you that your ballot in the 2020 Presidential election was counted correctly and fairly: very confident, somewhat confident, not that confident, or not at all confident?

Very confident: 53%

Somewhat confident: 11%

Not that confident: 15%

Not at all confident: 18%

Did not vote in 2020: 2%

Question 22 Mode

Landline: 34%

Text: 66%

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