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Poll: Majority of Americans Approve of Search on Mar-a-Lago for Files Trump Took

Despite loud criticisms from Trump loyalists, only around a third of Americans disapprove of the search at Mar-a-Lago.

The seal of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is seen outside of its headquarters in Washington, D.C. on August 15, 2022.

A new poll shows that a majority of voters in the U.S. approve of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort last week, in which the agency was seeking documents improperly taken by the former president after his term expired.

A recent Economist/YouGov poll surveyed Americans about the issue from August 13-16, after portions of the search warrant that was executed last week Monday were unsealed. According to the survey, the vast majority of Americans have heard about the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation, with 50 percent saying they’ve heard a lot about it and 36 percent saying they’ve heard a little about the search of the Trump property. Just 14 percent said they haven’t heard anything about it.

When survey participants were asked how they felt about the search, most said they approved of the DOJ’s actions, with 54 percent saying so. Only 36 percent said they disapproved. Similarly, only 30 percent of those surveyed said they approve of Trump having taken the records after leaving office, while 52 percent said they disapproved.

Negative feelings increased in regards to reports that Trump took classified documents, potentially illegally, related to nuclear weapons, which sources close to the investigation said he did.

Among all survey respondents, 57 percent of Americans say they disapprove of Trump taking nuclear weapons-related documents to his Mar-a-Lago estate. Those who voted for Trump in the 2020 presidential election, however, were split on that question, with 35 percent saying they approved of him potentially taking such documents, and 36 percent saying they didn’t (19 percent were unsure how to feel about it).

The inability of a large segment of Trump voters to acknowledge that such actions could be seen as improper in spite of most voters overall condemning them perhaps explains why his favorability rating was relatively and statistically unchanged compared to a previous Economist/YouGov poll conducted last week.

According to the most recent poll, only 39 percent of voters have a favorable view of Trump, with 54 percent giving him an unfavorable rating. Last week, 40 percent said they viewed Trump favorably, with 56 percent giving him an unfavorable grade.

Trump and his defenders have given myriad reasons as to why he should be allowed to keep classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, most of which are misleading or outright lies — including wrongly assertions that taking them from the White House automatically declassified them. Regardless of their classification status, the DOJ is looking into possible violations of the Espionage Act, which is concerned with how government records, whether classified or not, may be used to harm the national security interests of the United States.

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