The American public’s views of former President Donald J. Trump have remained remarkably stable through a number of different measures in recent months, even as he faces multiple investigations and remains a central figure in the midterm elections, according to the most recent report from New York. Times/Siena College survey.
Voters held nearly identical views as they did earlier in the summer on whether they viewed Trump favorably, whether they thought he had committed serious federal crimes, and who they would support in a hypothetical Trump-Biden showdown in 2024.
Overall, 44 percent of voters viewed Trump favorably and 53 percent viewed him unfavorably. The recent poll was conducted earlier this month, after news broke of the Justice Department investigation into Trump’s handling of sensitive documents, but before the New York attorney general announced he would sue Trump and his family business.
That level of support for Trump has not changed since the last Times/Siena poll, which was conducted in July amid televised hearings of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 assault on Capitol Hill. It was also fundamentally similar to the levels of support in the Times/Siena polls and other polls found in recent years.
Public opinion of Trump’s fight against the election results was also largely unchanged: In the most recent poll, 54% said his actions posed a threat to democracy and 38% said he had just exercised their right to contest elections.
The State of the 2022 Midterms
With the primaries over, both parties are shifting their focus to the November 8 general election.
And about half of voters said they thought Trump had committed serious federal crimes, while 38 percent thought he hadn’t. That was similar to responses from July, when respondents were asked more specifically about Trump’s actions after the 2020 election.
Trump has often boasted about the loyalty of his supporters. That loyalty has long been clear in his favorability ratings, which have remained steady throughout his time in office, even during times of heightened turmoil, such as his first impeachment trial. His approval ratings rose briefly when Covid-19 began to spread in the United States in the spring of 2020, but by May his support had returned to previous levels.
Many of Trump’s signature policy proposals have remained quite popular with the public, according to the September poll. Half of all respondents were in favor of a wall along the US-Mexico border, including more than 15 percent of those who said they would vote for Biden in 2024. And most said they more agreed. with the Republican Party than with the Democratic Party when it came to illegal immigration.
Trump has signaled another run for president. In a hypothetical 2024 rematch with President Biden, 45 percent said they would support Biden, while 42 percent said they would support Trump. (Mr. Biden’s margin of victory in the 2020 election was 4.4 percentage points.)
In 2020, Trump made inroads with Hispanic voters, a group that has historically favored Democrats. The recent poll found that Republicans continue to maintain a similar level of support among Hispanic voters, particularly among young Hispanics.
Antonio Chavez, a 34-year-old delivery man from Amarillo, Texas, said he had voted for a mix of Democrats and Republicans over the years, but would likely vote for Trump in 2024 if he ran again.
“I don’t know much,” he said. “When the race starts to get closer, I’ll start paying attention, but right now he’s out front for me.
“I have some reservations about supporting it because of the document issue, but I like to see what the other side is coming up with.”
There were signs in the poll that views of Trump were more complex than is sometimes believed. Across all measures requested, 30 percent of voters consistently held views that could be considered pro-Trump, such as planning to support him if he runs in 2024 and saying his actions after the 2020 election were justified. Thirty-nine percent of voters consistently held a range of views that could be described as anti-Trump.
However, nearly 30 percent seemed to have seemingly conflicting views of him and his actions, either expressing mixed feelings or refusing to answer one of the questions.
For example, 14 percent of those surveyed said they both planned to support him and believed that his actions after the 2020 election amounted to a threat to democracy.