Most Americans Think Biden Mishandled Classified Documents—But They Don’t Want Him Charged, Poll Suggests


A majority of respondents in a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday said they believe President Joe Biden acted inappropriately in retaining classified records after he left the Obama Administration, but only about a third at this point believe he should face criminal charges as a special counsel investigation moves forward.

Key Facts

The poll of 1,214 registered voters found 60% think Biden mishandled the documents, including 84% of Republicans, 60% of independents and 38% of Democrats.

Some 71% of respondents said they believe the discovery of the documents is either “very” or “somewhat” serious, including majorities of Republicans, Democrats and every other major polling demographic.

Just 37% of voters think Biden should face criminal charges related to the records, but there are sharp divisions along partisan lines—62% of Republicans said he should be charged, while just 7% of Democrats and 39% of independents hold that view.

Both Republican and Democratic voters are closely following news about the case, according to the poll, with 73% of Republican respondents saying they are following developments “very” or “somewhat” closely, along with 71% of Republicans and 65% of independents.

Big Number

36%. That’s Biden’s latest approval rating, according to the Quinnipiac poll—far lower than the 43.7% approval Biden holds in FiveThirtyEight’s polling average. Biden’s approval rating recently shot to its highest level since October 2021, following Republicans’ drawn-out battle to select a House speaker, but few polls have been released since the time news about the classified documents broke last week.


Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed former U.S. Attorney Robert Hur last week as special counsel to lead the investigation into Biden’s records. Three batches of classified records are known to have been found so far—one inside Biden’s former private office at the Penn Biden Center in D.C. and two in Biden’s house in Wilmington, Delaware. Biden claims he doesn’t know the contents of the records and he is confident the investigation will determine they were misplaced by accident. The White House has faced criticism for a lack of transparency, since it only acknowledged the discovery of the documents following media reports about them, and Republicans have slammed the investigation as supposedly soft-handed compared to a probe involving classified records former President Donald Trump allegedly mishandled. There are several crucial differences between the cases, though—Trump appeared to spend months dodging a subpoena demanding his records, while Biden claims his attorneys immediately alerted authorities upon finding classified documents. Presidents and their administrations are required to turn over sensitive documents at the end of a president’s term in accordance with the Presidential Records Act.


House Republicans have launched a probe to determine what communications related to the records the Justice Department and FBI may have had with the White House. The DOJ recently opted against using FBI agents to oversee searches at Biden’s properties, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Further Reading

Justice Department Declined Using FBI For Biden Document Search, Report Says (Forbes)

Kevin McCarthy Elected House Speaker—Ending Historic Deadlock (Forbes)

Who Is Robert Hur, The Special Counsel Investigating Biden’s Classified Documents? (Forbes)

Special Counsel Appointed To Investigate Biden’s Handling Of Classified Material (Forbes)

Biden: ‘I Don’t Know’ Contents Of Classified Documents Found In Private Office (Forbes)

Mar-A-Lago Raid: FBI Investigating Whether Trump Violated These 3 Statutes (Forbes)

Biden Classified Docs: House Republicans Launch Investigation Into Records (Forbes)