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Large Majority of the Public Views Prosecution of Capitol Rioters as ‘Very Important’

“As the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies continue to pursue charges against participants in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, the American public generally expresses strong support for continuing these efforts. Yet there are sizable partisan differences in attitudes about the riot at the Capitol, with Democrats far more likely than Republicans to view prosecution of the rioters as very important and to say that penalties for the rioters are likely to be less severe than they should be. The survey by Pew Research Center, conducted March 1-7, 2021, among 12,055 U.S. adults who are members of the Center’s nationally representative American Trends Panel, finds a wide majority of Americans (69%) saying it is “very important” for federal law enforcement agencies to find and prosecute the people who broke into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Another 18% say doing this is “somewhat important.” Just 12% say this is not too or not at all important.

Nearly half of Americans (47%) say the criminal penalties that the rioters will receive are likely to be less severe than they should be given what happened, while 22% say the penalties will be more severe than they should be. Only about three-in-ten (29%) expect the punishments will be about right…”

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