Just before the January 6th public hearings began, I said that the whole thing should be considered a “win” if, at the end of the hearings, midterm polling had shifted three points in the Democrats’ favor. The point of the hearings is not to get more people to vote Democrat. But if the hearings do their job, some sector of Americans will go from not caring about politics, to concluding that Trump must be punished for his crimes, and that his Republican Party must be voted out for continuing to cover for him.
We’re still too early in the public hearings to be looking for shifts in midterm polling. But in the meantime, roughly halfway through the hearings, new polling from ABC News shows that the number of Americans who want Trump criminally charged for January 6th has gone from 52% to 60%.
Eight points may not sound like a big deal on the surface. But we’re talking about a handful of public hearings convincing eight percent of all Americans to go from not wanting Trump charged, to now wanting Trump charged. Given that major elections are usually decided by a lot less than eight points, this has to be considered a major shift.
Of course the key is that the public hearings are still ongoing. Each daytime hearing brings new revelations that reverberate into the rest of the day’s news cycle, ensuring that everyone hears about it on the evening news and online. Tuesday’s public hearing is set to feature arguably the most crucial witness yet, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. And the eventual primetime closing hearing, which will summarize and reinforce everything that’s being laid out during the daytime hearings, will bring in a significant audience.
If the hearings continue to be a success, it’ll be reasonable to expect the polls to continue to shift further in favor of criminally charging Donald Trump. The number began at 52% and is now at 60%, so high sixties would be a reasonable expectation by the conclusion of the hearings. This would mean that two-thirds of all Americans want Trump put on criminal trial, which would obviously mean the end of his pipe dream about being a viable candidate in 2024. It would also likely spell some degree of bad news for Republicans in the midterms, as Trump is still firmly associated with the Republican Party in the minds of most Americans.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report