IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Poll shows wide support in U.S. for Trump criminal investigations

Trump has claimed "everybody" knows he's innocent. But a poll shows most Americans think he has done something wrong and call the investigations into him fair.


Ever since wrongly predicting the date of his indictment by New York prosecutors, former President Donald Trump has tried to stoke fear in anyone looking to hold him accountable. 

To do this, Trump has claimed that any attempt to prosecute him could be met with fierce — and potentially violent — pushback. He has called for mass protests in his defense to “take our nation back”; he has said an indictment could result in “death and destruction”; and he has repeatedly claimed that “everybody” knows he’s innocent

But new polling from NPR, “PBS Newshour” and Marist shows he’s sorely mistaken (as if the scant protests in his honor weren’t clear enough). Contrary to Trump’s posturing, a majority of Americans think the criminal investigations into his behavior are fair.

So, not exactly — or even remotely — the same as everybody thinking he’s innocent.

Simply put, most Americans believe Trump has committed crimes, including some Republicans. And an overwhelming majority of Americans, including many Republicans, believe Trump engaged in wrongdoing, even if they think those actions were criminal. 

(Note: The poll was conducted March 20-23, meaning the 1,327 respondents gave their answers a few days after Trump publicly claimed that he was about to be indicted. The poll had a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.) 

According to the poll: 

A majority of Americans (56%) think the investigations into former President Donald Trump are fair. 41%, though, consider the probes to be a “witch hunt.” Perceptions align closely with partisanship with 87% of Democrats and 51% of independents reporting the investigations are above board. Nearly one in five Republicans (18%) agree. Most Republicans (80%), though, think the investigations are a “witch hunt.”

The poll also found a “plurality of Americans (46%) think the former president has done something illegal, and an additional 29% consider Trump to have done something unethical but not illegal.” Only 23% of people polled said they thought Trump had done nothing wrong. 

That translates into 3 out of 4 Americans believing that Trump engaged in some form of misconduct. Needless to say, those are not great numbers for a presidential candidate. 

The poll also showed that while just 10% of Republicans said Trump has broken the law, a much larger portion of Republicans — 43% — said he has engaged in unethical behavior. 

Needless to say, those are not great numbers for a presidential candidate.

All this adds up to some underwhelming electoral prospects for the former president. The poll found that more than 60% of Americans don’t want Trump to be president again. Among white evangelical Christians — a crucial bloc for Republican candidates — 41% said they don’t want Trump to run again. 

None of this, however, means Trump’s chances of winning the GOP nomination are completely shot: In fact, 76% of polled Republicans said they want him back in the White House.

And if there’s a large field of Republican candidates, Trump could nab a plurality of voters in each primary and easily prevail. But this data does suggest we shouldn’t expect a cavalry of massive American support to ride in and, somehow, protect him from a criminal prosecution. 

Most Americans are leery of Trump’s behavior and don’t want him in the White House. It looks like they want him in the Big House instead.