American voters rate President Trump less trustworthy than his former attorney Michael Cohen, according to a Quinnipiac University poll that was conducted in the days following Cohen’s high-profile testimony before Congress.
Cohen, a disgraced and disbarred attorney who pleaded guilty to lying before Congress in 2017, returned to a House panel last Wednesday to admit to his own misdeeds, while calling Trump a “racist,” a “con man,” and a “cheat.” Trump in turn blasted Cohen on Twitter for what he called his head-spinning “lies.”
In the court of public opinion, most Americans are siding with Cohen, according to the poll of 1,120 voters surveyed between last Friday and Monday. By a margin of 50% to 35%, respondents thought Cohen was more trustworthy. The survey showed that 44% of voters believe Cohen told the truth last week, while 36% believe he did not tell the truth.
“Michael Cohen, a known liar headed to the big house, has more credibility than the leader of the free world,” Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac poll, said in a statement.
Predictably, more members of Trump’s own Republican party sided with Trump, with 79% of Republicans believing Trump over Cohen. Meanwhile, 86% of Democrats and 51% of Independents believed Cohen more. Just 31% of Independents believed Trump over Cohen.
But when it came to the question of whether to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump, 59% of respondents said no and 35% said yes. Yet 58% want Congress to investigate Cohen’s claims about Trump’s unethical and illegal behavior.
In general, a plurality of voters surveyed have a dim view of Trump. 58% said he lacks good leadership skills, the same percentage that believes he cares about average Americans. 65% believe Trump is not honest, while 64% believe he committed crimes before becoming President (and 45% believe he’s committed crimes in the White House).
“When two-thirds of voters think you have committed a crime in your past life, and almost half of voters say it’s a tossup over whether you committed a crime while in the Oval Office, confidence in your overall integrity is very shaky,” Malloy said.
Overall, Trump received a 38% job approval rating, while 55% disapproved. That’s similar to the 38%-to-57% breakdown in Quinnipiac’s survey three months ago and also to the 38%-to-56% breakdown in March 2018.
Trump received his strongest marks for his handling of the U.S. economy, with 49% of voters approving. Overall, Trump’s strongest approval rating came from White men, at 55%, while 12% of blacks, 20% of Hispanics, and 22% of people between 18 and 34 years of age approved of his performance in office.