Jun 12, 2019 - Politics & Policy

Poll: Majority of Republicans oppose ban on indicting a sitting president

Donald trump close up

President Trump in Oval Office. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

69% of American voters believe a sitting president should be subject to criminal charges, including 52% of Republicans, according to a Quinnipiac national poll that surveyed 1,214 people.

Yes, but: Just 16% of Republicans believe Trump committed crimes before he was in office, and 5% of Republicans believe he has done so while president.

Why it matters: The findings run counter to a controversial Justice Department's policy that contends a sitting president cannot be indicted for fear that "a federal criminal accusation against a sitting President would place burdens on the President's capacity to govern and potentially preempt constitutional processes for addressing presidential misconduct."

  • Worth noting: Support for being able to indict a sitting president is down from 71% in Quinnipiac's December 2018 poll.

Other highlights: The phone survey, conducted from June 6-10, found that the majority of the public still does not support impeaching President Trump.

  • 44% of voters believe that Trump deserves to be impeached. However, just 33% of voters and 62% of Democrats support Congress beginning the process of impeachment.
  • 57% overall believe Trump committed crimes before he took office. Voters are evenly split, 45% for and 45% against, on whether Trump committed crimes while he has been president.
  • 55% of voters believe Attorney General Bill Barr did not accurately represent the conclusions of the Mueller report to the American public. 35% of voters believe the Mueller report cleared Trump of any wrongdoing.

The big picture: Though the Constitution explains that a president can be removed from office due to "high crimes and misdemeanors," the document is silent on whether a president can face criminal prosecution in court. The Supreme Court has also not directly answered the question.

Methodology: From June 6 - 10, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,214 voters nationwide with a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points, including the design effect.

Go deeper: Over 650 former prosecutors say Trump would be indicted if he weren't president

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