• Polling

More Americans Think Trump’s Handling of Classified Documents Was Worse Than Biden’s

Tuesday, January 31, 2023 By Bryan Bennett
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Key takeaways
  • A growing share believe Congressional Republicans will overreach in conducting investigations, and that share believing they will overreach increases more when asked about investigations specifically into Biden and Democrats.
  • When comparing Biden’s classified document situation to former President Trump’s, a plurality find Trump’s situation to be worse; high awareness of Biden’s situation still does not increase the share who want House Republicans to prioritize investigating Biden.
  • The strongest messages on Biden and Trump’s classified documents focus on Biden’s cooperation with law enforcement compared to Trump’s refusal to comply. Going after Republicans for their obsession with trying to score political points on the issue instead of doing their jobs and being hypocritical when it comes to Biden’s documents versus Trump’s is also effective.

Three in Five Say Trump Committed a Crime As President

Large majorities of Democrats (net +77) and independents (net +46) believe that Trump “definitely” or “probably” committed a crime as president, while nearly one in three Republicans (31%) agree.

Plurality Say GOP House Will Overreach Generally; Nearly Half Say They Will Overreach Into Biden and Democrats Specifically

Since early January, there has been a 10-point increase in the share who say that Republicans in Congress will “overreach in investigating various events and individuals” (from 30% to 40%). Explicitly mentioning Biden drives the share who say “overreach” to 47%.

Similar Majorities Are Hearing About Both Trump and Biden’s Classified Documents

While three in four are hearing “a lot” or “some” about both Trump (78%) and Biden’s (74%) classified documents, intensity of awareness is higher around Trump’s situation (44% hearing “a lot” about Trump’s documents, 37% “a lot” about Biden’s documents).

Investigating Biden Remains Comparatively a Very Low Priority for Americans in Thinking About the GOP House

News about Biden having possession of classified documents has not increased Americans’ wanting Republicans to prioritize investigations: investigating the Biden administration and Biden family remains the lowest priority at just 16%.

Comparison of Biden and Trump’s Documents Situations Leaves Significantly More People Saying Trump’s Is Worse

Nearly four in five (77%) Democrats say what Trump did was worse, while a plurality of Republicans (45%) and independents (43%) say what both Biden and Trump did was “equally bad” or neither “was that big of a deal.”

Nearly Half Say Biden Has Done the Right Thing on His Documents and Releasing Information to the Public

A plurality of independents agree that “Biden has done the right thing so far” (net +16 agree).

  • Just 58% of Republicans disagree that Biden’s done the right thing so far; 16% agree he has and 26% are neutral.

Focusing on Biden’s Cooperation With Investigations Compared to Trump’s Non-Compliance Is Most Effective

Independents find the cooperation message more convincing (60% convincing) than one focused on the document locations (43%).

Criticisms of GOP for Not Focusing on Things That Matter and Not Caring About Trump’s Documents Are Both Convincing

Independents find the message on Republicans’ lack of focus more convincing (59%) than one about hypocrisy (49%).

Both the FBI and DOJ Are Viewed Favorably, Though With Partisan Differences

Democrats hold mostly favorable views of both the FBI and the DOJ (net +52 favorable and net +46 favorable, respectively), while Republicans hold unfavorable views of each (net -11 and net -23). Independents are more favorable toward the FBI (net +11) and split on the DOJ (net -1).

About The Study

Global Strategy Group conducted public opinion surveys among a sample of 1,000 registered voters from January 20-January 23, 2023. 100 additional interviews were conducted among Hispanic voters. 75 additional interviews were conducted among Asian American and Pacific Islander voters. 100 additional interviews were conducted among African American voters. 100 additional interviews were conducted among independent voters.

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In a world where the news cycle is the length of a tweet, our leaders often lack the real-time public-sentiment analysis to shape the best approaches to talking about the issues that matter the most. Navigator is designed to act as a consistent, flexible, responsive tool to inform policy debates by conducting research and reliable guidance to inform allies, elected leaders, and the press. Navigator is a project led by pollsters from Global Strategy Group and GBAO along with an advisory committee, including: Andrea Purse, progressive strategist; Arkadi Gerney, The Hub Project; Joel Payne, The Hub Project; Christina Reynolds, EMILY’s List; Delvone Michael, Working Families; Felicia Wong, Roosevelt Institute; Mike Podhorzer, AFL-CIO; Jesse Ferguson, progressive strategist; Navin Nayak, Center for American Progress Action Fund; Stephanie Valencia, EquisLabs; and Melanie Newman, Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

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