Three months after a mob of supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to prevent the certification of the 2020 presidential election that he lost – an event that resulted in five deaths and a sprawling FBI manhunt – roughly half of Republicans believe it was instead a non-violent protest or the work of left-wing activists trying to make him look bad. A new Reuters/Ipsos poll underscores the staying power of the former president in the GOP, his control over the Republican Party, and the effectiveness of the false and misleading messaging campaigns he and his political allies have waged in the wake of the attacks."He didn't just hijack the party – and I use the hijack term very deliberately because he's obviously not a party regular, he had been a Democrat and he wasn't viewed as being a Republican or part of the party – he hijacked or appealed to a whole segment of the population who were obviously open to those messages," says Barbara Perry, professor and director of presidential studies at the University of Virginia's Miller Center. "And that part of the population is still open to those messages.""It's not just the party that he hijacked, but he corralled and appealed to a whole segment of the population that is still holding firm with him because they are convinced that he is right," she added. "He taps into something that is visceral with them."Despite giving few interviews since he left office, Trump, with the help of his party loyalists, has managed to maintain the false narrative that the protesters posed no threat and that they were objecting to the certification of the election because of unfounded widespread voter fraud."Right from the start, it was zero threat," Trump said last month on Fox News. "Look, they went in – they shouldn't have done it – some of them went in, and they're hugging and kissing the police and the guards, you know? They had great relationships. A lot of the people were waved in, and then they walked in, and they walked out."His narrative is bolstered by Republicans in the House and Senate, like Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, who has clung to a revisionist history of the attack on the Capitol and repeatedly claimed, including at a Senate hearing, that the insurrection was the work of "fake Trump protesters." Hundreds of Trump supporters, energized by the president's claims that the election was stolen from him, marched to the Capitol on Jan. 6, physically attacked U.S. Capitol Police and D.C. police officers as they broke through security barriers, smashed windows and doors to gain access to the Capitol complex, streamed into the Senate chamber and tried but failed to gain access to the House chamber.As it stands, federal prosecutors have criminally charged more than 200 rioters, including many who identify themselves as Trump supporters and who have documented ties to far-right extremist groups. There is no substantial evidence, federal prosecutors have said, that left-wing or anti-fascist activists provoked or posed as Trump supporters during the riot.Yet the Reuters/Ipsos poll, which was conducted March 30-31, shows the messaging campaign of Trump and his supporters is working: While 59% of all Americans say Trump bears some responsibility for the attack, only 3 in 10 Republicans agree.Moreover, the poll found that 6 in 10 Republicans believe Trump's claim that November's presidential election "was stolen" due to widespread voter fraud, and 6 in 10 Republicans also think he should run again in 2024."We know he perpetrated that lie over and over, and once you start down that road I think it's fairly easy to have people believe in the adjuncts to that big lie – the biggest of all lies – that the election was stolen," Perry says.In addition, the Reuters/Ipsos poll also found that Trump remains the most popular figure within the GOP, with 8 in 10 Republicans continuing to hold a favorable impression of him – a finding that gives some credence to the idea that the former president has been at least somewhat successful in painting himself as the victim. "I always call Trump's presidency the unprecedented president with the unprecedented presidency," Perry says. "This element of his demagoguery and cementing this portion of the American population – didnt even matter if there was a party surrounding that – just by force of his personality and his use of media and demagogue ways, it's made his ability to be powerful unprecedented. But it remains to be seen how long that will last and whether Trump is an ideology."