Most Americans think presidents' children — including Hunter Biden — often profit off their parents

Taylor OrthDirector of Survey Data Journalism
August 23, 2023, 3:50 PM GMT+0

New polling from the Economist/YouGov finds that Democrats and Republicans are more likely to think poorly than well of President Joe Biden’s son Hunter, who has faced a variety of recent legal troubles. Currently, 66% have a very or somewhat unfavorable view of him, and 17% have a very or somewhat favorable one.

Most Americans have heard a lot (37%) or a little (48%) in the news recently about the investigation into Hunter Biden. Republicans (49%) are more likely than Democrats (35%) to say they've heard a lot about it.

Nearly three in four Americans — 72% — say Hunter Biden has personally profited from his father Joe Biden's positions in government. That includes half of Democrats (53%) and nearly all Republicans (92%).

But the view that presidents' children take advantage of their family ties is not limited to Hunter Biden: 85% of people say adult children of presidents always or sometimes profit off of their parents' positions in government. Most Americans — 84% — also believe children of U.S. presidents always or sometimes get away with things others do not because they are the children of presidents.

As for the Justice Department investigation into Hunter Biden, more Americans call it fair (39%) than unfair (22%), and 40% aren’t sure how to characterize it. By 50% to 11%, Democrats say it is fair; among Republicans, 32% say it is fair and 37% say it is unfair.

— Kathy Frankovic, Matthew Smith, and Carl Bialik contributed to this article

See the toplines and crosstabs from the Economist/YouGov poll conducted on August 19 - 22, 2023 among 1,500 U.S. adult citizens.

Methodology: 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 November 1, 2022, and is weighted to the estimated distribution at that time (33% Democratic, 31% Republican). The margin of error for the overall sample is approximately 3%.

Image: Getty (Anna Moneymaker)