A majority of Americans (51%) think Tuesday’s federal indictment of former President Donald Trump related to Jan. 6 and his efforts to overturn the 2020 election is very serious, marking the highest figure yet of the three indictments he’s faced, according to a new ABC News/Ipsos poll.
Overall, 65% of adults think the charges are serious, including 51% who said they are very serious and 14% who said they are somewhat serious.
Only 24% said they are not serious, including 17% who said they are not serious at all.
Just over half — 52% — think Trump should have been charged with a crime in this case, while 32% said he should not have been. And a plurality of Americans (49%) said Trump should suspend his presidential campaign, while 36% said he shouldn’t.
At the same time, 46% think the charges against Trump are politically motivated, while 40% do not, per the ABC News/Ipsos poll conducted using Ipsos’ KnowledgePanel.
These results show that the public believes the latest charges are more serious than those in two other indictments: one federal case in Florida concerning Trump’s alleged mishandling of and refusal to return government secrets after leaving office and the other state case in New York City over his hush money payments to an adult film actress in the days before the 2016 election, for which he is accused of falsifying business records.
He has pleaded not guilty in both of those cases and denies all wrongdoing.
In ABC News/Ipsos polls in the wake of the previous indictments, 42% of Americans said the documents-related charges were very serious and 30% saw the hush money-related charges as very serious, compared to 51% in this most recent indictment.
The new poll was in the field Tuesday and Wednesday, right after Trump was charged on four felony counts: conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding and conspiracy against rights.
Federal prosecutors, led by special counsel Jack Smith, said Trump’s allegedly illegal efforts involved six unnamed co-conspirators and included tapping a slate of so-called “fake electors” targeting several states; pressuring the Justice Department to launch “sham election crime investigations”; leaning on then-Vice President Mike Pence to “alter the election results” in his role as president of the Senate; and repeating claims of voter fraud that Trump had already been told were unfounded.
Trump was in Washington on Thursday to be arraigned on the new charges and he pleaded not guilty.
The poll results fall along predictable partisan lines, with only 19% of Republicans thinking the latest charges are very serious, compared with 84% of Democrats and 53% of independents.
The result among the politically important independent group shows an 11-point increase in the number who consider the current indictment very serious compared to the previous indictment related to the former president’s handling of classified documents. When it comes to whether Trump should have been charged with a crime in this case, only 14% of Republicans said Trump should have been charged, compared to 89% of Democrats and 53% of independents.
Trump has maintained he did not do anything wrong after losing the 2020 race, casting himself as a victim of a political “witch hunt.”
“President Trump will not be deterred by disgraceful and unprecedented political targeting!” his campaign said in a statement Tuesday.
Overall, Trump’s favorability is deeply underwater, with 30% of Americans holding a favorable impression of the former president and 59% saying they have an unfavorable impression of him.
President Joe Biden’s favorability rating is hardly better, sitting at 33%. And 39% of Americans said the House of Representatives should launch an impeachment inquiry into the president related to business deals his son Hunter Biden had in China and Ukraine, compared with 38% who said they should not. About a quarter (23%) said they didn’t know.
This reading on public attitudes comes as Republicans in Washington continue to spotlight Hunter Biden’s past foreign business entanglements and claim he sought to trade on his father’s political power for personal gain — which the White House has repeatedly rejected as false, saying there is no evidence to prove that.
Hunter Biden faces separate legal issues: Until recently, he had a deal in place with federal prosecutors in Delaware in which he agreed to plead guilty to two misdemeanor tax charges and enter into a pretrial diversion program to help him avoid prosecution on a felony gun charge. That agreement fell apart, for now, over questions from the judge about its scope and specific terms.
Both sides are working to resolve the deferred deal in light of the judge’s concerns.
In the new poll, 46% of Americans said they lack confidence that the U.S. Justice Department is handing its ongoing investigation of Hunter Biden in a fair and nonpartisan manner, including 31% who said they are not confident at all. Only 35% of adults said they are very or somewhat confident in the investigation’s integrity.
METHODOLOGY – This ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted using Ipsos Public Affairs’ KnowledgePanel® August 2-3, 2023, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,076 U.S. adults with an oversample of Republican respondents weighted to their correct proportion in the general population. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.4 points, including the design effect. Partisan divisions are 26-25-41 percent, Democrats-Republicans-independents. See the poll’s topline results and details on the methodology here.
ABC News’ Ken Goldstein, Alexander Mallin and Dan Merkle contributed to this report.