Trump’s Possession of Government Documents, Sep 2022

NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist National Poll

More Than Six in Ten Perceive Wrongdoing in Trump’s Stash of Government Docs at Mar-a-Lago

Many Americans think former President Donald Trump did something either illegal or unethical in housing government documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort. However, not all Americans who perceive wrongdoing in Trump’s actions think he should be charged with a crime. Consistent with NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll data released in December 2020, more than six in ten Americans do not want Trump to run, again, in 2024. However, among his most ardent supporters, there is still support for his candidacy even if he faces criminal charges.

Trump’s Possession of Gov’t. Docs
On August 8th, the FBI executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago and recovered boxes of government documents and materials. Do you think former President Trump did:
Source: NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll National Adults. Interviews conducted August 29th through September 1st, 2022, n=1,236 MOE +/- 4.1 percentage points. Totals may not add to 100% due to rounding.
  • A plurality of Americans (44%) say President Trump did something illegal when he took government documents after leaving the Presidency. An additional 17% think the former president did something unethical but not illegal. One in four Republicans say Trump did either something illegal (5%) or unethical (20%). 29% of Americans, including 63% of Republicans, think Trump did nothing wrong.

  • 47% of Americans say Trump did something illegal or unethical and should be charged with a crime. 14% think he did something wrong but should not face criminal charges.

  • 15% of Republicans and 18% of independents report Trump did something wrong but should not be charged with a crime. Ten percent of Republicans and 46% of independents perceive wrongdoing and think Trump should be charged.

  • 61% of Americans – including 90% of Democrats, 26% of Republicans, and 67% of independents – do not want Trump to run for president in 2024. This jumps to 65% of Americans if he is charged with a crime. 27% want Trump to run for president even if he is charged with a crime, including 61% of Republicans.

"Former President Trump is losing the battle with public opinion over whether he did anything wrong by taking government documents to Mar-a-Lago," says Lee M. Miringoff, Director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion. "But his core support remains intact regardless of the results of the investigation."