How do Americans evaluate Trump's and Clinton's security violations?

Taylor OrthDirector of Survey Data Journalism
September 21, 2022, 10:46 PM GMT+0

The recent investigation into former President Donald Trump's handling of classified government materials has raised comparisons to another scandal that plagued his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, during the 2016 presidential election campaign. Recent polling by the Economist and YouGov shows that Americans rate each politician's controversy as being a similarly serious problem: 42% say Trump taking classified materials to Florida with him after leaving the White House is a "very serious problem," while 41% say this about Clinton using a personal email server for government business as Secretary of State.

Democrats and Republicans give more leeway to their own party's 2016 presidential candidate. While 70% of Democrats think Trump's conduct is a very serious problem, only 11% of Republicans do. Meanwhile, 76% of Republicans think Clinton's conduct is a very serious problem, and only 11% of Democrats do. Only 8% of Americans think both Clinton's and Trump's conduct are very serious problems.

When asked more broadly about Trump's and Clinton's handling of classified materials, Americans overall feel similarly about the two. On Clinton, 24% say she handled classified material appropriately, while 59% say she handled it inappropriately. On Trump, 30% say he handled classified material appropriately, while 54% say he handled it inappropriately. Democrats (34%) are somewhat more likely than Republicans (24%) to say their own party's 2016 presidential candidate has handled materials inappropriately. One in four Americans (26%) think both Clinton and Trump handled materials inappropriately, including 22% of Republicans and 27% of Democrats.

– Carl Bialik and Linley Sanders contributed to this article

This poll was conducted on September 17 - 20, 2022 among 1,500 U.S. adult citizens. Explore more on the methodology and data for this Economist/YouGov poll.

Image: Getty (Win McNamee)