Almost two-thirds of voters think Trump committed crimes before taking office

Posted at 8:50 AM, Mar 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-06 08:54:18-05

Nearly two-thirds of registered voters think President Donald Trump committed crimes before assuming the presidency, according to a new poll taken in the days after former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen testified to Congress.

According to a Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday, 64% of registered voters said Trump had committed crimes before entering office and nearly half of voters — 45% — think he committed crimes while serving as President.

Despite Trump’s massive popularity in the GOP, even a third of Republicans said Trump had engaged in criminal activity before his presidency. The poll showed that 89% of Democrats and 65% of independents thought Trump had committed crimes before taking office.

Republicans were the only demographic group without a majority who believed Trump broke the law before he was President.

Voters were more split on whether Trump had committed crimes during the presidency — 45% said they think he has and 43% said they think he has not engaged in criminal activity.

In bombshell testimony last week, Cohen alleged — among other things — that the President had directed him to pay hush money to kill negative stories about the then-presidential candidate, something most voters in the poll frowned upon.

According to the poll, 73% of registered voters said paying to hide a negative story about a presidential candidate without disclosing it is unethical, including a little more than half of Republicans.

However, a smaller share of voters said they believed that act was also illegal — 40% of registered voters said paying to kill negative stories, and not disclosing it, is both unethical and a crime. The poll showed 21% said it was unethical but not criminal, and 20% didn’t think it was unethical at all.

The public is still relatively unsure about whether Cohen — who has pleaded guilty to lying to Congress, among other crimes — was credible in his testimony last week.

According to the poll, 44% of registered voters thought Cohen told the truth during his testimony last week, 36% didn’t and another 20% were unsure. Most Republicans said Cohen didn’t tell the truth (65%) and most Democrats thought he did (70%). Independents leaned toward believing Cohen: 47% of them said he was telling the truth. The poll showed 34% of independents thought he was untruthful and 19% of independents weren’t sure.

When asked directly if they believe Cohen or Trump more, 50% of all registered voters chose Cohen and 35% chose Trump.

The answer broke down heavily along partisan lines; 79% of Republicans said they believed Turmp more and 86% of Democrats said they believed Cohen. Fifty-one percent of independents believed Cohen over Trump and 31% of independent voters believed Trump over Cohen.

There’s strong agreement behind Congress doing more to investigate Cohen’s allegations, the poll showed. Almost 3 in 5 voters wanted Congress to do more to investigate Cohen’s claims about Trump’s unethical and possibly illegal behavior.

Meanwhile, Trump’s credibility rating is low. Only 30% of voters said the President is honest, the lowest it has been in Quinnipiac’s trend since it started asking the question right after Trump was elected in 2016. At that time, 42% of voters said Trump was honest.

The Quinnipiac pollwas conducted March 1-4 among 1,120 voters nationwide reached via landline or cell phone. Results have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.