All posts by Charles Franklin

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

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 IDYesNo
Total6733
Republican3961
Independent6534
Democrat937


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 TrumpParty IDYesNo
Favorable opinionRepublican2575
Favorable opinionIndependent3367
Unfavorable opinionRepublican8515
Unfavorable opinionIndependent8217
Unfavorable opinionDemocrat946


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 IDFavorable opinionUnfavorable opinionHaven’t heard enough
Total34642
Republican77230
Independent30655
Democrat2971


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 datesYesNo
11/1-10/216040
1/10-21/226337
3/14-24/226832
5/9-19/226831
7/5-12/227426
9/7-14/226634


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 datesDonald TrumpJoe BidenSomeone elseWouldn’t vote
11/1-10/213442186
1/10-21/223343166
3/14-24/223741157
9/7-14/223640196


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 datesRon DeSantisJoe BidenSomeone elseWouldn’t voteWeb blank
1/10-21/2233411881
3/14-24/2233382090
9/7-14/2235401690

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?

InstitutionA great dealQuite a lotSomeVery littleNone at all
Congress412373512
Your state supreme court82745156
U.S. Supreme Court1020342610
The Presidency1320292414
The FBI1925301610
The police213028146


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 IDA great dealQuite a lotSomeVery littleNone at all
Republican36372133
Independent153029179
Democrat152533207

. . .

(b) The FBI

Party IDA great dealQuite a lotSomeVery littleNone at all
Republican1119282516
Independent1622331712
Democrat29342872


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 IDStrongly favorSomewhat favorSomewhat opposeStrongly oppose
Total37221228
Republican15101362
Independent36231525
Democrat583173


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

AgeCollege statusFavorOppose
18-29Non-college8218
18-29College grad7723
30-44Non-college6931
30-44College grad6139
45-59Non-college5644
45-59College grad6040
60+Non-college4159
60+College grad5050


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 datesLegal in all casesLegal in most casesIllegal in most casesIllegal in all cases
5/9-19/222938248
7/5-12/222836278
9/7-14/223137266


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 IDzwaveOne of the most important issuesSomewhat importantNot very importantNot important at all
Republican5/9-19/223441159
Republican7/5-12/223343186
Republican9/7-14/224035187
Independent5/9-19/223839175
Independent7/5-12/224138136
Independent9/7-14/224238146
Democrat5/9-19/224838103
Democrat7/5-12/22513973
Democrat9/7-14/22613351


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 IDShould allowShould not allow
Total9010
Republican8119
Independent9010
Democrat973


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 IDYesNo
Total1882
Republican2674
Independent1683
Democrat1486


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 IDYesNo
Total2376
Republican4060
Independent2179
Democrat1287


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 datesApproveDisapprove
7/16-26/215842
9/7-16/214852
11/1-10/214951
1/10-21/224653
3/14-24/224455
5/9-19/224257
7/5-12/223664
9/7-14/224555


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 IDPoll datesVery enthusiasticSomewhat enthusiasticNot too enthusiasticNot at all enthusiastic
Republican5/9-19/225531121
Republican7/5-12/226325102
Republican9/7-14/225429152
Independent5/9-19/2234282612
Independent7/5-12/2233233311
Independent9/7-14/223632239
Democrat5/9-19/224237192
Democrat7/5-12/224531177
Democrat9/7-14/225133133


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 IDDemocratic candidateRepublican candidateNeither
Total474112
Republican5932
Independent373330
Democrat9622


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?

PersonNet favorableFavorable opinionUnfavorable opinionHaven’t heard enough
Donald Trump-3034642
Gavin Newsom-19183746
Mike Pence-17335017
Ron DeSantis-12273934
Joe Biden-1143543
Pete Buttigieg-7263342
Liz Cheney-6303633
Anthony Fauci2444213


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/.

Detailed results of the Marquette Law School Supreme Court Poll-September 7-14, 2022