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In Quinnipiac poll, 64% of Americans think Trump has committed a crime

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
President Donald Trump

Before I give you the numbers, please remind yourself: This is just a poll result. It proves nothing.

OK, nothing, except, within the margin of error, something about public opinion, not about evidence. No one can be convicted of anything on a poll result, unless it’s a poll of a jury (and then it has to be unanimous) or impeached, unless it’s a poll of Congress, and then it has to be two-thirds of both houses.

Still, for a guy with an approval rating forever lurking around the low 40-somethings, I thought it worth passing along that Quinnipiac polled on how many Americans believe President Donald Trump has committed crimes.

In a poll taken after Michael Cohen’s testimony last week:

  • By 64-24, Americans adults said yes, they believe Donald Trump committed a crime before becoming president.
  • And, by 45-43 percent, Americans believe Donald Trump has committed a crime since he became president.
  • By 50 to 35 percent, Americans said they were more willing to believe Cohen than Trump. (To dramatize that finding, Quinnipiac’s assistant poll director mentioned in the press release that accompanied the results that “Michael Cohen, a known liar headed to the big house, has more credibility than the leader of the free world.”)

The best news for Trump, in this poll: By 59 to 35 percent, Americans do not believe that Congress should begin impeachment proceedings — I assume because they believe the investigations would have to go further and prove more before that would be justified.

Perhaps the worst news of all for Trump: Even among Republicans, only 48 percent were willing to say that they didn’t believe he had committed crimes before becoming president, with 33 percent (of Republicans) believing that he did and the rest confessing that they didn’t know.

(On the other hand, overall, Republicans said they approve of Trump’s performance in office by a whopping 82-12 percent; compared to an even more whopping 92-6 disapproval among Democrats and what should be – for him facing re-election — a very troubling 57-34 disapproval rate among respondents who described themselves as independents.

Underscoring the overall sour feeling toward Washington politicians in general, among the overall sample, both Republicans and Democrats in Congress got a negative rating for the way they are doing their jobs, but Republicans did worse, 66-27 negative, than Democrats, 56 disapprovers-38 approvers.

Here are the Quinnipiac press release and full poll results.

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Comments (21)

  1. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 03/06/2019 - 09:24 am.

    For a society that is allegedly a democratic republic, the figures are something close to the opposite of a ringing endorsement. DIssatisfaction with politicians likely goes with the territory to some degree, but not by these kinds of margins, and the alternate universes in which Dems and Repubs are living is reflected in the 2nd-to-last paragraph.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/06/2019 - 09:43 am.

      No one should place too much store into the polls of satisfaction with Congress or politicians in general. Americans are always unhappy with “politicians,” but they keep re-electing them.

  2. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/06/2019 - 09:29 am.

    More proof that fake news is duping liberals. But hey, on the bright side- 64% of Americans are liberals eh! :0

    • Submitted by Brian Simon on 03/06/2019 - 12:06 pm.

      Mathematically it seems there’s overlap between those who both believe Trump has committed crimes (64%), and approve of the job he’s done as President(~40%). Who are those people?

      • Submitted by Harris Goldstein on 03/06/2019 - 02:08 pm.

        They are ones who support for a single issue (2nd Amendment, right to life, religion in politics) mean more than any other issue.

        They are ones who have convinced themselves that we can be an isolated “America First” island in an increasingly connected and interdependent world.

        They are ones who feel taken advantage of by “those” people.

        They are ones who think – against all objective data – that Trump is “winning”.

  3. Submitted by Douglas Shambo II on 03/06/2019 - 09:33 am.

    You’re right, of course, Mr. Black: What people think, or whether they support the president or not, proves nothing.

    However, as the saying goes, when there’s this much smoke, from so many sources, there has to be fire. I was a senior in high school during the Watergate hearings. I ran home from school to watch every hearing I could with great interest. It was a sterling example of what government can do when it operates well.

    Would that members of Congress — both Republicans and Democrats, especially in the US Senate — were at least as collegial and as interested in getting to the truth, politics aside, as they were back then. I hope and pray that the polarization and mutual demonization we see now not lead to the actual downfall of our republic.

  4. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/06/2019 - 09:42 am.

    What is particularly interesting is that Republicans remain such strong supporters of Trump, even though they believe he committed crimes, either while in office, or before taking office. I suspect that if one were to ask a Republican about this, they would resort to the tired old “both sides do it” cliche.

    Tribal loyalty is more important than the integrity of the system, or even being a consistent supporter of the “rule of law.”

  5. Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 03/06/2019 - 09:48 am.

    Curious how the shift has happened, now that the Mueller investigation is looking like a dud, it is no longer collusion collusion collusion russia rusiia russia, but “he must be a criminal!” Evidence just as notwithstanding.

    Is Trump any more criminal than any other oligarch in monopoly friendly corporatist America? I wonder what Dems are doing to protect me from economic predators in corporate and banking America, not named Donald Trump? What great plans do you have for America other than taking down Trump, as if that would solve systemic corruption, graft and racketeering?

    Theatre imperial…ruling elite distracting the masses with nonsense while the earth and this nation is pillaged, looted, brought under ever more strict control and surveilllance, as if Trump is any more than a bit player….

  6. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/06/2019 - 09:57 am.

    Some people don’t want Trump impeached because they would end up with Pence; the same policies plus the political competence to enact them.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/06/2019 - 05:10 pm.

      The fear of a Pence administration is real (if Trump were not such a thoroughly loathsome person, would he be as unpopular just because of his policies?). There is also the argument that an impeachment effort now, before all of the investigations are concluded or at least further along, would be premature.

  7. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/06/2019 - 11:26 am.

    I honestly don’t know why the durability of Trump’s support surprises anyone. Have you not been paying attention for the last 40 years as Republicans have devolved into ever more fanatical denial of reality and facts?

    Al Franken wrote: “Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Liar” in 1996, and THAT was six years AFTER the first Bush took us into the first Iraq War based on lies and deception. And Franken’s book came ten years after Reagan’s Iran Contra scandal started breaking.

    Then of course we had Bush II, who was the most dishonest and incompetent president since Nixon- until Trump came along.

    I hate to say it but the only explanation I can produce for this continued surprise at Trump’s continued support is that people have been in denial… for decades if not years.

    These people are ditto-heads.

  8. Submitted by Brian Simon on 03/06/2019 - 12:01 pm.

    I would answer the poll that, yes, I believe Pres Trump has committed crimes. I believe he’s done so both before & since becoming President. I do not believe, however, that it is yet time to begin inmpeachment proceedings. Like it or not, he is a duly elected official. There are ongoing investigations into his behavior as a private citizen; as a candidate, and as an elected official. As those investigations reach conclusions, the time for impeachment may arrive. But if the crimes are limited to his time as a private citizen, perhaps impeachment is not the appropriate remedy.

  9. Submitted by Kimberly Mohan on 03/06/2019 - 12:44 pm.

    I really feel that any poll results of this type have to be viewed through the lens of recognizing that the majority of people, left or right, are acquiring most of their info through sound bites and memes. This speaks to the state of the culture more thoroughly than it does the state of politics, though obviously there’s a strong argument that the culture dictates the politics and not vice-versa, so maybe my point is moot.

  10. Submitted by Tom Crain on 03/06/2019 - 01:07 pm.

    At this point you have to have been marinating in Fox news – exclusively – for years to not believe Trump committed some crimes.

    But this tells you the real trouble democracy is in: based on this poll 20% of the Republican party both think Trump committed a crime and still approve his performance!

  11. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 03/06/2019 - 02:40 pm.

    Trump is 100% sure he has committed crime(s). That is why he is acting like a cornered person. Remember if Trump denies it he did it and if he demeans you, you are close to the Trump truth.

  12. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 03/06/2019 - 06:29 pm.

    It’s important that House Democrats remember to put as many of their hearings out there for the public to watch and listen to: That we got to actually HEAR Michael Cohen for a few hours last week, and see the checks written by Trump )when he was President) and his son to Cohen for arranging the Stormy Daniels coverup, is what is beginning to change the public opinion of Trump as criminal.

    Most Americans have not followed the hard-won journalism that’s found out lie after lie by Trump, and the awful stuff about Russian contacts and general corruption in the Trump realm. It’s out there, but you have to read a lot to catch it.

    Not so, with publicly-televised hearings. Please don’t make all this stuff “behind closed doors” if you want Americans to get educated about the worst President in the past century.

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