New Marquette Law School national survey finds a third of the public and three-fifths of Republicans don’t believe Trump had secret documents at Mar-a-Lago; Biden’s approval rating rises to 45% from 36% in July

Sept. 22, 2022


Please note: Complete poll results and methodology information can be found online at law.marquette.edu/poll.

MILWAUKEE — A new Marquette Law School national survey finds that 33% of adults say they do not believe Donald Trump had “top secret and other classified material” at his Mar-a-Lago estate this summer, while 67% believe he did have such documents. Sixty-one percent of Republicans say he did not have such secret documents, while 39% say he did. In contrast, large majorities of independents and Democrats think Trump had classified material at his Florida home, as shown in Table 1. (All results in the tables are stated as percentages; the precise wording of the questions can be found in the online link noted above.)

Table 1: Do you believe Donald Trump had top secret and other classified material or national security documents at his home in Mar-a-Lago this summer?

Party ID

Yes

No

Total

67

33

Republican

39

61

Independent

65

34

Democrat

93

7


The survey was conducted Sept 7-14, 2022, interviewing 1,448 adults nationwide, with a margin of error of +/-3.4 percentage points.

Most of those who have a favorable view of Trump, regardless of party, do not believe he had secret documents in his possession, while over 80% of those with an unfavorable opinion, regardless of party, say that he did have secret documents. Table 2 shows belief about the documents by party and favorability toward Trump. There are too few Democrats with a favorable opinion of Trump to provide a reliable subsample.

Table 2: Do you believe Donald Trump had top secret and other classified material or national security documents at his home in Mar-a-Lago this summer? by favorability to Trump and party identification

Favorable to Trump

Party ID

Yes

No

Favorable opinion

Republican

25

75

Favorable opinion

Independent

33

67

Unfavorable opinion

Republican

85

15

Unfavorable opinion

Independent

82

17

Unfavorable opinion

Democrat

94

6


Among all adults, 34% have a favorable opinion of Trump, while 64% have an unfavorable view. This is essentially unchanged since before the FBI search at Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8: In the July national Marquette Law School Poll, 34% had a favorable opinion of Trump, while 62% had an unfavorable view. Trump retains a heavily favorable rating among Republicans, while majorities of independents and Democrats view him unfavorably, as shown in Table 3

Table 3: Do you have a favorable or an unfavorable opinion of the following people or haven’t you heard enough yet to have an opinion? . . . Donald Trump

Party ID

Favorable opinion

Unfavorable opinion

Haven’t heard enough

Total

34

64

2

Republican

77

23

0

Independent

30

65

5

Democrat

2

97

1


Within the GOP, a majority (66%) would like to see Trump run for president in 2024,  while 34% would not like him to run. This percentage is down slightly since the July survey but within the range of results in the previous year. The trend for this question among Republicans is shown in Table 4.

Table 4: Would you like to see Donald Trump run for president in 2024, or not? (Among Republicans)

Poll dates

Yes

No

11/1-10/21

60

40

1/10-21/22

63

37

3/14-24/22

68

32

5/9-19/22

68

31

7/5-12/22

74

26

9/7-14/22

66

34


In a hypothetical match between President Joe Biden and Trump in a 2024 election, Biden receives 40% and Trump 36%, while 19% say they would vote for someone else and 6% say they would not vote. Biden has held a slim margin in polls over the last year on this question, but the margin has tightened over time, as shown in Table 5.

Table 5: If the 2024 election for president were held today between Former President Donald Trump, the Republican, and President Joe Biden, the Democrat, would you vote for Donald Trump or for Joe Biden? [order of the two names in question was randomized in survey]

Poll dates

Donald Trump

Joe Biden

Someone else

Wouldn’t vote

11/1-10/21

34

42

18

6

1/10-21/22

33

43

16

6

3/14-24/22

37

41

15

7

9/7-14/22

36

40

19

6


Florida Governor Ron DeSantis fares similarly in a hypothetical 2024 election against Biden, with Biden receiving 40% and DeSantis  35%, with 16% preferring someone else and 9% saying they would not vote. The trend for this matchup is shown in Table 6.

Table 6: If the 2024 election for president were held today between Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, the Republican, and President Joe Biden, the Democrat, would you vote for Ron DeSantis or for Joe Biden? [order of the two names in question was randomized in survey]

Poll dates

Ron DeSantis

Joe Biden

Someone else

Wouldn’t vote

Web blank

1/10-21/22

33

41

18

8

1

3/14-24/22

33

38

20

9

0

9/7-14/22

35

40

16

9

0

Among Democrats, 52% would like Biden to run in 2024, while 48% would not like him to run.

Among all adults, majorities would like neither Biden nor Trump to run in 2024. For Biden, 28% want him to run and 72% do not, while for Trump 31% want him to run and 69% do not.

Confidence in institutions

Table 7 shows confidence in six American institutions. For the first time in three years of asking this question, confidence in the presidency was higher than confidence in the U.S. Supreme Court, though only by a slight margin.

Table 7: Here is a list of institutions in American society. How much confidence do you have in each one?

Institution

A great deal

Quite a lot

Some

Very little

None at all

Congress

4

12

37

35

12

Your state supreme court

8

27

45

15

6

U.S. Supreme Court

10

20

34

26

10

The Presidency

13

20

29

24

14

The FBI

19

25

30

16

10

The police

21

30

28

14

6


Republicans are substantially more confident in the police than are independents or Democrats, as shown in Table 8 (a). However, Republicans express considerably less confidence in the FBI than do independents and Democrats, shown in Table 8 (b).

Table 8: Here is a list of institutions in American society. How much confidence do you have in each one? . . . [order randomized in survey question]

(a) The police

Party ID

A great deal

Quite a lot

Some

Very little

None at all

Republican

36

37

21

3

3

Independent

15

30

29

17

9

Democrat

15

25

33

20

7

. . .

(b) The FBI

Party ID

A great deal

Quite a lot

Some

Very little

None at all

Republican

11

19

28

25

16

Independent

16

22

33

17

12

Democrat

29

34

28

7

2


Student loan forgiveness

A majority, 59%, favor the decision to forgive some student loans up to $20,000 while 40% are opposed. There are sharp partisan differences on this policy, as shown in Table 9.

Table 9: Do you favor or oppose the decision to forgive and cancel up to $20,000 of federal student loan debt?

Party ID

Strongly favor

Somewhat favor

Somewhat oppose

Strongly oppose

Total

37

22

12

28

Republican

15

10

13

62

Independent

36

23

15

25

Democrat

58

31

7

3


Support for loan forgiveness is high among younger adults and declines with age, while there are only modest differences between college graduates and non-graduates within age categories, as shown in Table 10. Among those under 45, slightly more non-graduates than graduates favor loan forgiveness while the reverse is true among those 45 and older.

Table 10: Do you favor or oppose the decision to forgive and cancel up to $20,000 of federal student loan debt? by age and college graduation status

Age

College status

Favor

Oppose

18-29

Non-college

82

18

18-29

College grad

77

23

30-44

Non-college

69

31

30-44

College grad

61

39

45-59

Non-college

56

44

45-59

College grad

60

40

60+

Non-college

41

59

60+

College grad

50

50


Abortion

A majority, 61%, oppose the decision by the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, while 30% favor that ruling and 10% say they don’t have an opinion. (Those particular and certain other data about public views of the Court from this September survey were released yesterday, Sept. 21, and can be found on the Marquette Law School Poll website; this release provides further results of the same survey on national topics.) In July, 57% opposed and 31% favored the decision.

There has been little change in preferred policy with respect to abortion in the wake of the Court’s decision, as shown in Table 11.

Table 11: Do you think abortion should be legal in all cases, legal in most cases, illegal in most cases, or illegal in all cases?

Poll dates

Legal in all cases

Legal in most cases

Illegal in most cases

Illegal in all cases

5/9-19/22

29

38

24

8

7/5-12/22

28

36

27

8

9/7-14/22

31

37

26

6


Democrats rate the importance of abortion higher than do independents or Republicans, as shown in Table 12.  The importance of abortion has increased since May among Democrats. while rising less among independents or Republicans.

Table 12: How important is the abortion issue to you—would you say it is one of the most important issues, somewhat important, not very important, or not important at all?

Party ID

zwave

One of the most important issues

Somewhat important

Not very important

Not important at all

Republican

5/9-19/22

34

41

15

9

Republican

7/5-12/22

33

43

18

6

Republican

9/7-14/22

40

35

18

7

Independent

5/9-19/22

38

39

17

5

Independent

7/5-12/22

41

38

13

6

Independent

9/7-14/22

42

38

14

6

Democrat

5/9-19/22

48

38

10

3

Democrat

7/5-12/22

51

39

7

3

Democrat

9/7-14/22

61

33

5

1


In a hypothetical choice between a candidate who favors keeping abortion legal and a candidate who favors strictly limiting abortion, 55% support the abortion rights candidate and 30% favor the candidate who would limit abortion, while 15% say the abortion issue would not matter to them. Half of respondents were asked this question.

In an experiment, the other half of the sample were asked the same question but with the candidates identified as a Democrat who favors abortion rights and a Republican who favors strict limits on abortion. Providing this partisan cue made no difference in the results, with 54% favoring the Democrat supporter of abortion rights and 29% favoring the Republican who favors limiting abortion, with 17% saying abortion would not matter for them.

A very large majority, 90%, say their state should allow a woman to obtain a legal abortion in cases of rape or incest, with 10% saying this should not be allowed. Large majorities favor this among each party, as shown in Table 13.

Table 13: Do you think your state should or should not allow a woman to obtain a legal abortion if she became pregnant as the result of rape or incest?

Party ID

Should allow

Should not allow

Total

90

10

Republican

81

19

Independent

90

10

Democrat

97

3


A majority, 82%, say states should not be able to make it illegal to travel to another state to obtain a legal abortion, while 18% say states should be able to do so. The partisan differences on this issue are shown in Table 14.

Table 14: Should a state be able to make it illegal for a woman to have an abortion by travelling to a different state where abortion is legal?

Party ID

Yes

No

Total

18

82

Republican

26

74

Independent

16

83

Democrat

14

86


A majority, 76%, say states should not be able to make it illegal to order from out-of-state prescription medication that induces an abortion, while 23% say states should be able to do so. The partisan differences on this issue are shown in Table 15.

Table 15: Should a state be able to make it illegal for a woman to get and fill a prescription from out-of-state providers for medication that will induce an abortion, sometimes called “medication abortion” or “abortion pills”?

Party ID

Yes

No

Total

23

76

Republican

40

60

Independent

21

79

Democrat

12

87


Biden job approval

Approval of how Biden is handling his job as president increased to 45% in September, with 55% disapproving. In July, 36% approved and 64% disapproved. The trend in Biden approval is shown in Table 16.

Table 16: Overall, how much do you approve or disapprove of the way Joe Biden is handling his job as president?

Poll dates

Approve

Disapprove

7/16-26/21

58

42

9/7-16/21

48

52

11/1-10/21

49

51

1/10-21/22

46

53

3/14-24/22

44

55

5/9-19/22

42

57

7/5-12/22

36

64

9/7-14/22

45

55


The survey finds the enthusiasm advantage Republicans held in the spring has largely vanished among registered voters, with 54% of Republicans and 51% of Democrats saying they are very enthusiastic to vote. Table 17 shows the trend in enthusiasm by party since May.

Table 17: How enthusiastic are you about voting in the elections this November for congressional and state offices? (Among registered voters)

Party ID

Poll dates

Very enthusiastic

Somewhat enthusiastic

Not too enthusiastic

Not at all enthusiastic

Republican

5/9-19/22

55

31

12

1

Republican

7/5-12/22

63

25

10

2

Republican

9/7-14/22

54

29

15

2

Independent

5/9-19/22

34

28

26

12

Independent

7/5-12/22

33

23

33

11

Independent

9/7-14/22

36

32

23

9

Democrat

5/9-19/22

42

37

19

2

Democrat

7/5-12/22

45

31

17

7

Democrat

9/7-14/22

51

33

13

3


In September among registered voters, 75% of Democrats and 73% of Republicans say they are absolutely certain to vote.

Among registered voters, 47% say they would vote for the Democratic candidate for Congress and 41% would vote for the Republican candidate. Party loyalty is very high for both parties, with a slight Democratic advantage. Independents are about evenly split, with 30% saying they prefer neither party for Congress. These results are shown in Table 18.

Table 18: If the election for Congress were held today, would you vote for the Democratic candidate in your district or the Republican candidate in your district? (Among registered voters)

Party ID

Democratic candidate

Republican candidate

Neither

Total

47

41

12

Republican

5

93

2

Independent

37

33

30

Democrat

96

2

2


Favorability of public figures

Table 19 shows favorability ratings of several public figures. With the exception of Anthony Fauci, all have net negative favorability ratings.

Table 19: Do you have a favorable or an unfavorable opinion of the following people or haven’t you heard enough yet to have an opinion?

Person

Net favorable

Favorable opinion

Unfavorable opinion

Haven’t heard enough

Donald Trump

-30

34

64

2

Gavin Newsom

-19

18

37

46

Mike Pence

-17

33

50

17

Ron DeSantis

-12

27

39

34

Joe Biden

-11

43

54

3

Pete Buttigieg

-7

26

33

42

Liz Cheney

-6

30

36

33

Anthony Fauci

2

44

42

13


About the Marquette Law School Poll

The survey was conducted Sept 7-14, 2022, interviewing 1,448 adults nationwide, with a margin of error of +/-3.4 percentage points. For the 1,282 registered voters, the margin of error is +/- 3.6 percentage points. Interviews were conducted using the SSRS Opinion Panel, a national probability sample with interviews conducted online. The detailed methodology statement, survey instrument, topline results, and crosstabs for this release are available at law.marquette.edu/poll/category/results-and-data/.


About Christopher Stolarski


Christopher Stolarski

Chris is an associate director of university communication in the Office of Marketing and Communication. Contact Chris at (414) 288-1988 or christopher.stolarski@marquette.edu