Most Americans buy the Trump taxes story

Jamie BallardData Journalist
September 29, 2020, 7:15 PM UTC

The New York Times recently reported that President Donald Trump had not paid federal income taxes for 10 of the last 15 years, and that he had paid just $750 in income taxes in 2016 and 2017. They published these findings after reportedly obtaining more than two decades of tax-return data on Trump and the companies within his business organization. 
 
YouGov poll of more than 9,000 Americans finds that a majority (84%) have heard at least a little bit about this story. Democrats (63%) and Independents (47%) are more likely than Republicans (38%) to say they’ve heard a lot about this.  

Subscribe to the YouGov Daily newsletter

President Trump has denied the information reported by the New York Times, branding the story totally fake news” and “made up” to reporters at a news conference the evening after it was published. Only 11% of Americans seem to believe the president, saying when asked that they think the story is “completely untrue”, with a further 8% considering the claims to be mostly untrue. 

Most Americans (58%) think that the New York Times’ reporting is either completely accurate (39%) or is mostly correct (19%).   

As ever, belief in the claims splits down party lines. Among Democrats, 84% believe the story is mostly or completely true, but among Republicans just 23% say the same.  

Regardless of whether or not they personally believe the story, about half (52%) of US adults say that it isn’t appropriate for Trump to have paid no federal income taxes for 10 of the last 15 years. Just over one-third (35%) say that as long as he didn’t break any laws, it’s acceptable.  

Almost three-quarters of Republicans (72%) believe that this was acceptable so long as Trump didn’t break any laws. Fewer Independents (37%) and Democrats (14%) agree.  

Methodology: YouGov asked 9,113 US adults: “How much, if anything, have you heard about President Donald Trump reportedly paying no federal income taxes for 10 of the last 15 years, and reportedly paying $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017?”, “Do you think this story about President Donald Trump's income taxes is true or untrue?”, and “Regardless of whether you believe the story, would you approve or disapprove of President Donald Trump paying no federal income taxes for 10 of the last 15 years?” The survey was carried out online September 28 - 29, 2020. Data were weighted on age, education, gender, race, and Census region to be nationally representative of adults in the United States.     

Image: Getty