Rumors have been circulating in recent weeks that President Donald Trump may opt to issue pardons to his family members before leaving office — and according to a bombshell new survey, the overwhelming majority of Republicans wouldn’t have a problem with such a move.
The Washington Examiner reported Friday that a new poll from The Hill and HarrisX found some 72% of GOP voters would approve of the president pardoning members of his family as a preemptive move to shield them from partisan prosecution.
Breaking it down
According to the Examiner, a full 39% of Republicans who responded to the poll said they strongly agreed with the idea of Trump pardoning his loved ones, while 33% offered some approval.
Only 28% of GOP respondents to the poll said they wouldn’t support the move at all, the Examiner reported.
According to The Hill’s own report on the poll, 55% of all respondents — including independents — said they would not support the preemptive pardons from Trump, while 45% said they would approve of it.
Among Democrats, disapproval of the measure was pegged at 77%.
The survey was conducted online and polled 3,785 registered voters from Dec. 3–7, according to The Hill.
“An interesting legal question”
The disparity between Democrat and Republican respondents may be due to differing perceptions regarding whether the justice system will treat the president and those associated with him fairly. According to a Dec. 3 report from Politico, Trump is said to be considering nearly two dozen pardons for his friends and family, perhaps “to spare them from paying millions in legal fees to fight what he describes as witch hunts.”
If he does make such a move, it would certainly be unprecedented, according to many Republicans in Washington.
“I’m not sure what form it would take. It’s kind of an interesting legal question,” Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley (R) told Politico. “I’m not aware of analog.”
HarrisX CEO and chief pollster Dritan Nesho also weighed in, according to The Hill, saying that “[s]upport for Trump preemptively pardoning his family members is slightly lower than his overall approval, suggesting the move will be controversial and opinions on it will largely break around partisan lines.”
“But the who, what, and why of any eventual pardon, as well as the context in which it is done and the messaging around it, will determine how the public ultimately reacts to the action,” Nesho added. “It’s likely that voters will disapprove of the action but also do not think it is an important issue.” Only time will tell.