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Poll gauges support for prosecuting Trump in classified docs scandal

As Quinnipiac's analyst put it, “While the Justice Department weighs the evidence, Americans have been watching closely and have their own verdict."


Donald Trump and his team aren’t just outraged by the Justice Department’s investigation into the Republican’s Mar-a-Lago scandal, they’re also assuming that the American mainstream agrees with them.

As we recently discussed, Eric Trump appeared on a conservative outlet last week, for example, and said, in reference to the FBI’s Aug. 8 search, “The whole country is revolting over it.” Kimberly Guilfoyle, identified as a senior advisor to the former president, also recently took to the airwaves, making the case that the United States had rallied behind the Republican as a result of the FBI executing a court-approved search warrant.

Several recent polls, however, have pointed in the opposite direction, including the latest NBC News poll that found 57% of the public agreeing that investigation into Trump’s alleged wrongdoing should continue.

But a Quinnipiac poll released yesterday went a little further down the same road. Bloomberg reported:

Former President Donald Trump should be prosecuted over his handling of classified documents after his departure from the White House, according to half of Americans, a Quinnipiac University poll shows. As details are released about the FBI’s recovery of material from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, the poll found 50% of those surveyed say Trump should face criminal charges, while 41% do not.

This is not what it looks like when a “whole country is revolting” in response to a federal investigation.

Indeed, there’s no real good news for Team Trump in the survey data. Quinnipiac found that Americans are interested in the scandal — 76% are following the controversy — and 59% believe the former president acted inappropriately.

What’s more, 64% believe the allegations are serious — 49% said “very serious.”

Tim Malloy, a Quinnipiac University polling analyst, added in the survey report, “While the Justice Department weighs the evidence, Americans have been watching closely and have their own verdict: Former President Trump’s alleged hoarding of classified documents was very serious, very wrong, and half of Americans believe it was a criminal act.”

Circling back to our earlier coverage, the results aren’t altogether surprising. Trump is not widely popular, and he’s been accused of serious wrongdoing. It stands to reason that the American mainstream would support an investigation and legal consequences.

But the fact that the results are predictable doesn’t mean they’re unimportant. For one thing, the data suggests Team Trump’s public-relations offensive hasn’t been especially effective: Rank-and-file Republicans have largely accepted the talking points from the former president and conservative media outlets, but that’s far from a national majority.

For another, the polling evidence suggests that Team Trump’s assumptions about public attitudes are more wishful thinking than honest assessments.