Donald Trump and his allies wasted little time last week trying to establish the terms of the debate surrounding the FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago. The underlying strategy was fairly obvious: If the former president and his political operation could convince people that this was an outrageous abuse, then perhaps the story could be turned into a political winner.
Their efforts do not appear to be working. Political Wire noted yesterday:
A new YouGov poll finds Americans overwhelmingly approve of the FBI’s search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago beach club to retrieve classified documents that he took from the White House, 54% to 36%.
Looking over the same data, YouGov asked respondents whether they approve or disapprove of the Justice Department’s investigation into the former president allegedly taking these materials. The results were similar: A 55 percent majority supported the investigation, while 31 percent opposed it.
The results are roughly in line with a Politico/Morning Consult poll conducted soon after the search, which found that just under half of Americans — 49 percent — approved of the FBI’s decision to search Mar-a-Lago, while 37 percent did not.
A week later, it appears that support for what transpired has inched a little higher.
To be sure, this isn’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 federal law enforcement executing a court-approved search warrant.
The data stands out, however, because of what it tells us about the efficacy of Team Trump’s public-relations offensive.
As we discussed last week, GOP officials assumed — or at least pretended to assume — that mainstream Americans would be reflexively repulsed by the idea of federal law enforcement holding a former president accountable for wrongdoing.
Kimberly Guilfoyle, identified as a senior advisor to Trump, even took to the airwaves, making the case that the United States had rallied behind the former president.
The evidence suggests otherwise. Trump has seen his standing improve a bit among Republican voters, and perhaps that’s all that matters to the former president and his team, but he doesn’t appear to be winning over anyone else.