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GOP Support for the Way Trump Kept Docs at Mar-a-Lago Drops Significantly — Poll

A majority of Americans approve of the DOJ opting to indict Donald Trump, the poll also found.

Former President Donald Trump speaks to supporters at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster following his appearance in a Miami court on June 13, 2023, in Bedminster, New Jersey.

It’s been around 10 months since the FBI executed a search warrant at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, obtaining thousands of government documents in the process, including more than 100 marked “classified.” And since that time, support for Trump’s action among Republican voters has significantly diminished.

Days after the FBI operation — which came about following the Department of Justice (DOJ) discovering evidence that Trump had misled them in a previous subpoena, falsely stating he had returned all of the classified documents that he had improperly removed from the White House — an Economist/YouGov poll found that a majority of Americans (54 percent) disapproved of Trump’s holding on to the official documents after he had left office. But within that poll, a majority of Republican voters (53 percent) actually said they approved of what Trump had done.

The Economist/YouGov poll repeated the question in its most recent survey, published on Wednesday and conducted after Trump was indicted over his handling of the documents and obstructing their proper return to the U.S. government. And the results of the poll, among Republicans, are now completely different.

Within the new poll, a majority of Americans overall (63 percent) still disapprove of Trump’s actions relating to this issue, with less than a quarter (24 percent) saying they approve of it. Republicans, meanwhile, are now split on the matter — 39 percent say they approve of Trump’s handling of government documents, while 40 percent now say they disapprove.

The change represents an 11-point increase in Republican voters’ disapproval rating for Trump improperly holding thousands of government materials, and a 14-point drop in their approval rating of the action.

Among those who said they voted for Trump in 2020, the drop is not as significant but it’s still noticeable. When news of the FBI search first appeared, 53 percent of Trump voters said they backed him taking and keeping documents at his residence, with just 26 percent saying they felt it was wrong. Today, however, according to the latest Economist/YouGov numbers, 45 percent say they still support his actions while 36 percent say they don’t.

Given how close the last two elections were, any drop in support for Trump on a number of issues — including this one — is likely to worry the 2024 GOP frontrunner for president. Indeed, among the electorate overall, a Yahoo News/YouGov poll conducted late last month (prior to news of Trump’s indictment) found that 62 percent of voters believed Trump being charged with a “serious crime” should disqualify him from the presidency.

Trump can run for office, even if he’s charged or even successfully convicted of a crime prior to the 2024 election, as there are no such conditions within the U.S. Constitution forbidding someone from running for office after a conviction. But having that many voters believe he should be disqualified from office will likely hurt his chances, in a huge way, in the 2024 general election campaign.

Trump was charged with 37 counts of criminal wrongdoing relating to his keeping documents at Mar-a-Lago after his presidency ended, including charges relating to his holding onto sensitive government materials as well as his obstructing efforts by the DOJ and the National Archives and Records Administration to have them returned. Trump appeared in a Miami, Florida, federal court on Tuesday, where one of his lawyers, speaking on his behalf, pleaded not guilty.

Most voters agree with the decision to charge Trump, with the latest Economist/YouGov poll finding that 52 percent of Americans say the decision to charge him was the right one for the DOJ to take, and only 36 percent disapproving of the decision.

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