How Americans evaluate the charges filed against Donald Trump in three cases

Carl BialikU.S. Politics Editor and Vice President of Data Science
Taylor OrthDirector of Survey Data Journalism
August 09, 2023, 6:29 PM GMT+0

Majorities of Americans are aware of charges filed against Donald Trump this year in three cases, new polling by YouGov finds. The most recent case — for which Trump was indicted earlier this month — includes four federal charges involving his purported efforts to retain power after the 2020 election and his role in the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. Two months ago, in June, a federal grand jury in Florida charged Trump with 37 criminal counts relating to his alleged mishandling of classified documents after his presidency; three more counts were brought in this case in July, for a total of 40. In a third case, for which Trump was indicted in Manhattan in April, he is charged with 34 criminal counts in relation to alleged hush-money payments made through his lawyer to cover up a sex scandal during his 2016 presidential campaign.

Compared to the Manhattan hush-money case, the two federal cases — one involving efforts to overturn the 2020 election and the other, mishandling of classified documents — are more likely to be viewed by Americans as serious and have higher levels of support for convicting Trump. More Americans also believe he is likely to be convicted in these cases than in the Manhattan case, and larger shares say that convictions would negatively affect his political prospects. In all three cases, Americans are more likely than not to say the investigations have been conducted fairly and to support a conviction against Trump.

Americans are more likely to say that all three investigations into Trump have been conducted fairly, rather than unfairly. Democrats are about six times as likely as Republicans and twice as likely as Independents to view each investigation as fair.

Both the federal elections and classified documents cases are viewed as very serious by close to half of Americans and as at least somewhat serious by nearly two-thirds. At least seven in 10 Democrats view each of the federal cases as very serious, compared to just one in five Republicans.

One in four Americans says the hush money case is very serious, with about half saying it's at least somewhat serious. While Democrats are far more likely than Republicans to say the hush-money case is very serious, the partisan gap is smaller than for the other two cases.

On whether Trump should be convicted, more believe he should than shouldn't in each of the federal cases: 47% say he should in the elections case and 46% say he should in the classified documents case. Americans are more divided on a conviction for the hush-money charges: 39% say Trump should be convicted and 37% say he should not be. In all three cases, at least three-quarters of Democrats support a conviction, compared to only around one in 10 Republicans.

At least two-thirds of people are unsure as to whether or not Trump will be convicted in each case, though slightly more say he will than won't in the elections case (33% yes to 30% no) and the classified documents case (35% to 30%). Fewer expect a conviction in the hush money case (26% to 35%). Democrats are more likely than Republicans and Independents to expect a conviction in each case.

If Trump is convicted in either of the federal cases, about half of Americans say this would have a very or somewhat negative impact on his future political career; one in five expect a conviction in either of these cases would be positive for Trump. The rest are either unsure or say there would be no effect.

Only around one in three say a conviction in the hush-money case would be negative for Trump's political future; roughly the same share say it would have no effect.

See the results for this YouGov poll

Methodology: This poll was conducted online on August 2 - 4, 2023 among 1,000 U.S. adult citizens. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel using sample matching. A random sample (stratified by gender, age, race, education, geographic region, and voter registration) was selected from the 2019 American Community Survey. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, 2020 election turnout and presidential vote, baseline party identification, and current voter registration status. Demographic weighting targets come from the 2019 American Community Survey. Baseline party identification is the respondent’s most recent answer given prior to March 15, 2022, and is weighted to the estimated distribution at that time (33% Democratic, 28% Republican). The margin of error for the overall sample is approximately 4%.

Image: Getty (Anna Moneymaker)

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