Three years on from the January 6 attack on the Capitol, attitudes towards the culpability of former president Donald Trump are softening among Republican voters.

Amid new questions about the former president’s eligibility to appear on primary ballots due to his alleged engagement in the events of January 6, the latest polling reveals 53 per cent of Americans (down from 60 per cent in 2021) say Donald Trump bears a great deal or good amount of blame for the January 6 Capitol Hill attack. The seven-point decline in those convinced of Trump’s culpability is largely driven by Republicans’ softening perspective, with the number of Republicans assigning Trump fault declining 14 percentage points since 2021.

Since 2021, nearly 1,300 Jan. 6 rioters have been arrested in connection with the attack and 64 per cent of those who have been convicted at trial have faced prison time. The former president may also face prison time in charges brought by the Justice Department relating to his alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election. While a majority (57 per cent) of American adults say Trump should be held accountable for the charges, an overwhelming 77 per cent of Republicans and 83 per cent of Trump voters say the DOJ is unfairly targeting Trump for political reasons, with 68 per cent of Republican voters saying the former president is innocent.

Republicans’ softening view of Trump’s involvement in the Jan. 6 attack and faith in the former president’s innocence has no doubt helped Trump secure an historic lead in the race for the Republican nomination. The primaries may indeed prove an easy fight for the former president. But, the reality is majorities of Americans believe President Biden was legitimately elected, Trump is guilty of attempting to overturn the 2020 election result and that he should be held accountable for such action. So, while Trump might appear to have secured the hearts and minds of Republicans, convincing the majority before the November general election will be a whole separate battle.

This article was first published in the 46th newsletter. Subscribe to the 46th here.