Former US President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event in Waco, Texas, US, on Saturday, March 25, 2023.
Brandon Bell | Getty Images
As former President Donald Trump sounds off on multiple investigations that appear to be heading toward possible charges, three in four U.S. adults believe he has done something either illegal or unethical, a new poll found.
Most Americans also think the probes of Trump — which are ongoing at the local, state and federal levels — are fair, according to the latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll released Monday.
The survey of 1,327 adults was conducted from March 20 through March 23. The prior weekend, Trump wrongly declared on social media that he expected to be arrested within the week in connection with an investigation by the Manhattan district attorney’s office.
That evidently spurious announcement set off a media frenzy, thrusting the DA’s hush money investigation into the front of the news cycle. The grand jury hearing evidence in the case was set to continue its work Monday, and it is unclear when the jurors will vote on whether to indict Trump — though news outlets have previously reported that the probe appears to be in its final stages.
Trump is also being investigated by the DA in Fulton County, Ga., the New York attorney general and the Department of Justice.
Asked in the new poll about the investigations into Trump, 46% of national adults replied that they think he has done something illegal. That includes 78% of Democratic respondents and 41% of independents, as well as 10% of Republicans.
Another 29% of those surveyed said they believe Trump has done something unethical, but not illegal. Forty-three percent of GOP respondents gave that response, along with 33% of independents.
That leaves just 23% of Americans who said they think Trump has done nothing wrong. The survey of national adults has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.
Meanwhile, more than half of respondents, 56%, said they think the probes of Trump are fair, versus 41% who viewed them as a “witch hunt.” Trump has used that phrase repeatedly throughout his presidency and afterward to refer to a variety of investigations into his conduct, including the two impeachment and removal efforts in Congress that both ended in his acquittal in the Senate.
Eighty percent of Republicans shared that view of the Trump-focused investigations, according to the poll.
The poll results came days after Trump held the first official rally of his 2024 presidential campaign. The ex-president, who lost to President Joe Biden in 2020, is currently the clear frontrunner in the Republican primary field, which so far includes just a small handful of other declared candidates.
Trump’s stature in the Republican Party appeared to wane in the wake of Jan. 6, 2021 — when a mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in riotous protest of an election that Trump had falsely claimed was “rigged” — and again following the lackluster performance of many candidates he backed in the 2022 midterm elections.
But the latest Marist poll showed that Trump’s favorability split has seen little meaningful movement since he has been in the White House. The survey showed 39% of respondents viewing Trump favorably, versus 51% who had an unfavorable impression of him.