A narrow majority of Americans say Donald Trump should not have to sell his businesses to separate them from his duties as president — but a large majority say the president-elect should release his tax returns, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
The poll finds 52 percent of those surveyed say Trump’s decision to hand over control of his businesses to his adult sons and another executive “is enough” to separate his business interests from his obligations as president. A somewhat smaller share, 42 percent, say Trump should sell his businesses outright.
The poll was conducted Thursday to Sunday, starting a day after the news conference where Trump sought to allay concerns about conflicts between his businesses and presidential duties. His decision to stop short of selling his businesses was criticized by the director of the Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, who said the plan didn't “meet the standards … that every president of the past four decades has met.”
Trump’s continued refusal to release his tax returns continues to be an unpopular decision, with 74 percent of Americans saying he should make the documents public, including 53 percent of Republicans.
Trump said last week that he believes only reporters, and not the broader public, care about his tax returns. The Post-ABC poll finds that roughly 2 in 5 Americans both want to see Trump release of tax returns and say they “care a lot” about him doing so.
Americans are sharply divided over whether the president-elect, his family and advisers are complying with federal ethics laws, with 43 percent saying they are and 44 percent saying they are not. The question draws a sharp partisan split, with 79 percent of Republicans saying Trump’s team is complying with ethics laws while 72 percent of Democrats say they are not. Independents split nearly evenly on the question: 44 saying the Trump team is complying, and 43 percent say they’re not.
This Washington Post-ABC News poll was conducted by telephone Jan. 12-15, 2017, among a random national sample of 1,005 adults, including landline and cellphone respondents. Overall results have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. Sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt-SRBI of New York.
Emily Guskin contributed to this report.