Trump’s Legacy as President

Most Americans think Trump is at least somewhat responsible for the riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, including 50% who say he bears a lot of responsibility. About half favor impeachment.

February 5, 2021

Most Americans think Donald Trump bears at least some blame for the events at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, including 50% who say he bears a great deal or quite a bit of the responsibility. About half support the Senate voting to impeach the former president.  Sixty-two percent think Trump has little or no respect for the country’s democratic institutions and traditions.

Trump will face his second impeachment trial in the Senate beginning the week of February 8, after the House of Representatives passed an article of impeachment one week before he left office. The former president is accused of “incitement of insurrection” for the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol during which a violent mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol building.1

Overall, 47% of Americans say that the Senate should convict Trump during his impeachment trial, while 40% feel they should not. Twelve percent aren’t sure. Democrats overwhelmingly support conviction, with 85% saying he should be convicted, while 80% of Republicans say they should not.

Half of Americans say Trump has a great deal or quite a bit of responsibility for the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6 by a group of his supporters in a failed attempt to overturn his defeat in the 2020 presidential election. Most Republicans do not hold Trump responsible.

Sixty-six percent of Americans say Joe Biden was legitimately elected in November, but 65% of Republicans disagree.  

Just 37% of Americans say that Trump respects the United States’ democratic institutions and traditions, and 62% say he does not. This remains unchanged since it was asked prior to his first impeachment trial in October 2019.2 Again, opinions are strongly linked to partisanship, although 27% of Republicans say he has little or no respect. In contrast, 70% of Americans say that Joe Biden respects the country’s democratic norms including 42% of Republicans.

Half of Americans say that Trump was a terrible or poor president, 15% say he was average, and 36% say he was good or great.  In comparison, 52% said Barack Obama had been a good or great president after his eight years in office, 20% thought he was average, and 28% described him as terrible or poor.3

Americans are split on if they are better or worse off than they were when Trump became president. Thirty-eight percent say they are better off, 27% worse off, and 35% say there has not been much difference. Sixteen percent of Democrats say they are better off, 43% say they are worse off, and 41% say there is not much difference. Republicans are more positive, with 66% saying they are better off, 11% worse, and 23% not much difference.

When asked about the country as a whole, however, Americans are more negative. More than half say the country is worse off than it was before Trump’s presidency. Democrats are more negative with 12% saying the country is better off, 78% saying the country is worse off, and 8% saying not much difference. Fifty-six percent of Republicans say it is better off, 28% say it is worse, and 15% not much difference.

Again the public was more positive about Obama’s presidency.  Forty-six percent said the country was better off at the end of his administration; only 33% said the country was worse off.  

The nationwide poll was conducted January 28-February 1, 2021 using the AmeriSpeak® Panel, the probability-based panel of NORC at the University of Chicago. Online and telephone interviews using landlines and cell phones were conducted with 1,055 adults. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3.8 percentage points.

  • Suggested Citation: AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.  (February, 2021).“Trump’s Legacy as President.” [https://apnorc.org/projects/trumps-legacy-as-president]

1 https://apnews.com/article/donald-trump-impeachment-updates-5adebdc5d8c30622f5e116e40c9396e6

2 https://apnorc.org/projects/assessing-trumps-performance/

3 https://apnorc.org/projects/obamas-legacy-as-president-depends-on-who-you-ask/

Resources

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AP-NORC poll: Americans are split on Trump’s impeachment

By Jill Colvin and Emily Swanson | The Associated Press February 5, 2021 WASHINGTON (AP) — A majority of Americans say former President Donald Trump bears at least some blame…

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