Views of Jan. 6 harden as anniversary approaches: The Note

It’s striking how little public opinion has moved.

The TAKE with Rick Klein

It may be less about things being forgotten than about how they were remembered in the first place.

As images and memories are revived this week marking the anniversary of the Jan. 6 attacks at the Capitol, it's striking how little public opinion has moved at all when it comes to perceptions of both responsibility and electoral reality.

An ABC News/Ipsos poll out this week found 65% of Americans believe President Joe Biden's 2020 victory was legitimate. The figure was 68% when the same polling question was asked a week after last Jan. 6.

A new Washington Post/University of Maryland poll found 66% of Republicans believe there to be "solid evidence" of widespread voter fraud in that election. That number was 68% in ABC/Post polling shortly after Jan. 6; no credible evidence of widespread fraud has been uncovered over that time span.

As for who to blame, the ABC/Ipsos poll found 58% of Americans believe Trump bears either a "great deal" or a "good amount" of responsibility for the events of that day. The same question found 57% agreement with that notion in last January's ABC/Post poll.

This week's events have been crafted by congressional Democrats and the White House to hammer home the horrors of Jan. 6 and to spin them forward, for accountability and for what could be a last push for federal voting rights reform in this Congress.

It may be, though, that virtually all Americans have already made up their minds about what happened and why it should matter.

The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper

Democratic Senate leadership is pointing to the fast-approaching anniversary of the attack at the Capitol to put urgency behind the push for voting rights.

"Let me be clear: January 6th was a symptom of a broader illness - an effort to delegitimize our election process, and the Senate must advance systemic democracy reforms to repair our republic or else the events of that day will not be an aberration – they will be the new norm," wrote Schumer in a letter to his caucus Monday.

Schumer's attempt remains an uphill battle, with both Republican opposition blocking the legislation and members of his own party -- namely Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema -- opposed to changing Senate rules to pass the legislation with a simple majority.

"We as Senate Democrats must urge the public in a variety of different ways to impress upon their Senators the importance of acting and reforming the Senate rules if that becomes a perquisite (sic) for action to save our democracy," Schumer wrote.

Schumer has set a Martin Luther King Jr. Day deadline for a vote to change Senate rules if the voting reform legislation remains blocked. Pressure is mounting outside of the chamber, too. Schumer's deadline also coincides with the King family's planned demonstration to mark the holiday and call for voting rights legislation. Martin Luther King III, Arndrea Waters King, Yolanda Renee King and members of advocacy groups plan to march across Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge in Washington, D.C. -- the idea being that delivering on voting rights is as urgent as infrastructure.

The TIP with Alisa Wiersema

In Texas, the 2021 political calendar closed with a look back at 2020 as Collin, Harris, Dallas and Tarrant counties completed the first phase of the secretary of state's review of the last general election, which revealed few discrepancies in the assessment of the results.

The Texas secretary of state's office made the report public on New Year's Eve, outlining data regarding the "security and accuracy of voting systems used in each of the four counties, as well as the counties' work to maintain the accuracy of their respective lists of registered voters."

The discrepancies between the electronic and partial hand counts of the four counties' results showed just a handful of differences in vote counts. Collin County had a discrepancy of 17 votes, Dallas had 10, Harris had five and Tarrant reported zero. Overall, the secretary of state's office says the total of the votes cast in these four counties in 2020 makes up "approximately 35% of the roughly 11.3 million votes cast statewide."

The reasons for the differences were innocuous, as well. In Collin County, the count was affected by curbside voters who could use machines to vote from their cars -- machines that don't produce a paper record that could factor into this report. According to Dallas County's report, the 10-vote difference "resulted from a data entry error by county officials when transmitting the partial manual count report to the SOS." Harris County attributed its five-vote discrepancy to "an error in the manual counting" of ballots.


ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Start Here begins Tuesday morning with ABC's Sony Salzman on how the omicron surge is affecting schools as students return from the winter break. Then, ABC's Rebecca Jarvis reports on the split verdict in former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes' fraud trial. And, why airlines and the FAA are raising concerns about a new 5G rollout, with ABC News contributor Steve Ganyard.


  • The Senate resumes consideration of Anne A. Witkowsky's nomination to be an assistant secretary of state in an executive session at 10 a.m.
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  • White House press secretary Jen Psaki holds a briefing at 2:30 p.m.
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