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What does the average American citizen think of the raid on Trump? While CNN, MSNBC, etc report how good it is, and Fox reports how bad it is, what does the average person think? I am asking as I read right-wing news and lean right, but I want to see what people who are more in the middle think. Do people find it weird that the Biden DOJ is raiding Biden's most likely opponent in 2024, or that the leader of the Republican party is being raided 90 days before midterms?

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    It is not "the Biden DOJ"; the Department of Justice and its operations are almost entirely independent of the White House administration.
    – TylerH
    Aug 16 at 19:51
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    @TylerH, how true that is in practice is one of the controversies that the FBI action inflamed. At minimum, Biden appointed the Attorney General (with Senate approval) and he could demand the AG's resignation, so he has some level of accountability for the DOJ's activity. Aug 16 at 22:13
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    @KovyJacob The President nominates the Attorney General, and the AG "reports to" the President, but the President doesn't tell the AG what to do or who to prosecute, and the AG doesn't tell the President everything Justice is doing. When pressured to do so, AGs typically resign. The Justice Department operates with independence, and has to, for the rule of law to continue being a thing. Justice is part of the Executive branch because it enforces the law (which is the purpose of that branch), not because it is the President's personal cop army.
    – TylerH
    Aug 17 at 15:48
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    I'm voting to close this question as not being in good-faith. It is clear from OP's comments they are just interested in affirmation of their own personal interpretation of recent events.
    – TylerH
    Aug 17 at 15:50
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    @Zibbobz First of all I am looking to find what people think, not what is true. And second of all, if I wanted to know what people think of Pepsi Vs. Coke I would ask - but that isn't what I want to know.
    – Kovy Jacob
    Aug 17 at 19:49

3 Answers 3

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In situations in which a variable exhibits drastically different behavior in different groups, asking about the average may not be meaningful. After all, if we were to take averages, we would find that the average human being has about one testicle and one ovary, speaks mainly Mandarin and English with a bit of other languages thrown in, and lives in the middle of the ocean somewhere, where they probably work as a retail salesperson—somehow.

In the case of the raid on Trump's residence, this poll from Morning Consult and Politico suggests that opinion overall is divided: 41% of respondents said that the raid was an abuse of power that should be investigated, 40% said that it was not an abuse of power, while 6% said that it was an abuse of power that should not be investigated. Overall, around 47% expressed some degree of approval, while 37% expressed some degree of disapproval. As suggested by the statement at the beginning, 81% of Democrats thought the raid was due to evidence that Trump had comitted a crime, whereas 69% of Republicans believed that it was an attempt to damage his political career.

For another, albeit probably less reliable perspective, this article references a poll suggesting that Democrats mainly approve, Republicans mainly do not, and Independents lean toward disapproval. However, the source of the poll is given as the Trafalgar Group and the Convention of States Action, the latter of which is a right-wing group financed by the Koch brothers whose leader described the raid as a "gestapo-style injustice," so take that as you will. Presumably the first group, a relatively reputable pollster, performed the data collection and analysis for the latter.

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  • 41% of respondents said that the raid was an abuse of power that should be investigated but only 37 expressed disapproval? Aug 16 at 18:15
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    @user1721135 - Correct. Don't blame me; blame question wording effects or random variation due to a limited sample size.
    – Obie 2.0
    Aug 16 at 18:24
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    @user1721135 - Those correspond to two separate questions. One asked them about how much they approved, and the other whether they saw it as an abuse of power.
    – Obie 2.0
    Aug 16 at 22:36
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    I quickly looked at the poll cited in the middle paragraph, and the results didn't seem to match the numbers presented in this answer. Either I didn't spend enough time looking at the results, or the values presented in this answer might need correcting. Aug 17 at 17:36
  • @RockPaperLz-MaskitorCasket - There are many similar questions in the poll, so make sure that you look at all of them.
    – Obie 2.0
    Aug 17 at 17:37
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FiveThirtyEight did a good aggregation of polling on the topic.

A Feb. 16-20 poll from Suffolk University/USA Today, for instance, found that 56 percent of registered voters thought the National Archives retrieving such documents from Trump was a serious matter warranting investigation. But again, there were stark differences by party, with 88 percent of Democrats saying it should be investigated, compared with just 27 percent of Republicans. Still, a survey conducted Feb. 12-15 by The Economist/YouGov found that 79 percent of Americans thought Trump taking home classified material was more “wrong” than “right” — including 61 percent of Republicans and 91 percent of Democrats.

As stated in another answer here:

In the case of the raid on Trump's residence, this poll from Morning Consult and Politico suggests that opinion overall is divided: 41% of respondents said that the raid was an abuse of power that should be investigated, 40% said that it was not an abuse of power, while 6% said that it was an abuse of power that should not be investigated. Overall, around 47% expressed some degree of approval, while 37% expressed some degree of disapproval. As suggested by the statement at the beginning, 81% of Democrats thought the raid was due to evidence that Trump had comitted a crime, whereas 69% of Republicans believed that it was an attempt to damage his political career.

I think the most enlightening polling question was from the Economist/YouGov poll comparing Trump's current situation with Clinton's 6 years ago yougov poll

Essentially, Republicans think the person in their party did not commit a serious offense but the person from the opposing party did, and vice-versa for Democrats. Independents think both committed a serious offense at about equal levels. People will inherently view this through a partisan lens. You yourself admit to leaning right, and your concerns appear to be less about whether Trump committed an offense rather than whether the investigating bodies are committing an offense - the "average American" will view it through a similarly partisan lens.

As for centrists/truly non-partisan voters - to the extent that such a political group exists, it was 7% the last time Pew measured it and has consistently been around there - it's going to vary wildly depending on how informed they are. Execution of a search warrant by the FBI could be considered either completely banal or political warfare depending on how much is known and understood.

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tl;dr - The average American (me included) doesn't have an educated opinion on the subject.

When I investigate a matter that is highly divided and highly politicized, I know any news outlet is not a reliable source of information. I try to find facts to help establish a baseline of truth that I can then go to news outlets with and filter through the noise. In this case I would (I haven't yet):

  • look for historical precedent on FBI actions against presidents and former presidents
  • look for FOIA documents from the National Archives and President Trump
  • try to establish a timeline that shows why the FBI did the raid at this time, not in past or why not in the future.

During this search I would have 2 questions in the back of my mind:

  • Did President Trump commit a crime and what crime specifically did he commit?
  • Did the FBI and the DOJ skirt legal due process (or extra sensitivity typically given to presidents or former presidents) specifically because this involved President Trump?

Only then could I form an educated opinion on President Trump's complicity and the FBI and DOJ's proper use of power.

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  • "When I investigate a matter that is highly divided and highly politicized, I know any news outlet is not a reliable source of information. I try to find facts to help establish a baseline of truth that I can then go to news outlets with and filter through the noise" - this does not sound at all like "the average American". This might be the norm within the circles you frequent, but most people just roughly go with whatever their preferred news source(s) tell them.
    – NotThatGuy
    Aug 17 at 17:09
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    @NotThatGuy If this is the case, then I would suggest that the average American doesn't have a thought about the raid and the polling of the topic is just a thinly-veiled poll of which news outlets Americans regurgitate from.
    – SargeATM
    Aug 17 at 17:13
  • I sincerely wish more people around the world would perform good research before adamantly regurgitating what they have heard "from a reliable source" (which almost always turns out to be heavily biased). Aug 17 at 17:40
  • While good advice, I don't think this answers the question.
    – divibisan
    Aug 17 at 18:36
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    Only correct answer. Aug 18 at 12:42

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