A substantial majority of voters support the federal indictment of former President Donald Trump over his mishandling of classified documents, and a solid majority say his actions render him unfit to be president again. But new polling from Navigator Research also suggests Democrats have an opportunity to boost support for charging Trump by detailing his actions surrounding the indictment against him.
By a 14-point margin, registered voters already support Trump being charged, 53%-39%. But support for indicting Trump rises 6 points when voters are told Trump faces 37 federal counts in the documents probe and is "facing charges under the Espionage Act, as well as charges of obstruction of justice, destruction or falsification of records, conspiracy, and making false statements to investigators."
After hearing that, voters favor indicting Trump 56%-36%, including 88% of Democrats, 50% of independents, and 22% of Republicans.
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The most concerning details, according to Navigator, center around the content of the documents themselves (including military information) and Trump asking his lawyers to hide documents.
The poll included several other bad outcomes for Trump:
His net favorable rating is 22 points underwater, 38%-60%, including seven in ten independents who are unfavorable toward him (net -46)
62% say Trump has committed a crime, with just 32% saying he hadn't (net -30)
He's also 16 points underwater on the question of whether he's fit to serve, 42% fit-58% unfit, with 62% of independents saying he's unfit.
It's worth noting the 5-point disparity between the 62% who say Trump's a criminal while just 58% say he's unfit to serve is primarily due to GOP tribalism. Among Republicans, 26% agreed Trump had committed a crime but just 20% called him unfit to serve.
Nearly two-thirds of voters (64%) said the two most objectionable actions included: Trump allegedly taking classified documents about U.S. nuclear programs home to Mar-a-Lago; and Trump taking classified documents outlining potential U.S. vulnerabilities to military attacks.
The least concerning/persuasive aspects of Trump's violations by far were that his own attorney general, Bill Barr, said he was "toast" if "even half" of the charges are true and the fact that every witness in the investigation is another Republican or former Trump employee.
Trump voters who believe Trump committed a crime were most concerned (73%) that Trump “was recorded on tape sharing material he described as ‘highly confidential’ and ‘secret’ with someone who did not have the proper security clearance.”
The Navigator findings are mainly consistent with other polls showing majorities of Americans believe Trump has committed a crime and should potentially drop out of the race. But Navigator's research showed ways in which negative feelings toward Trump's reckless behavior could be bolstered.
At the behest of President Joe Biden, Democrats to date have mostly kept mum on the topic of Trump's alleged criminality. The Navigator polling shows why that's a strategic error since Trump's betrayal of the country could play even worse for Republicans than it already is.
RELATED STORY: Silence over Trump's Espionage Act charges is a mistake for Democrats