WASHINGTON ― Only about half of the people who voted for President Donald Trump say it would be immoral if he had an affair with pornographic film actress Stormy Daniels. The other half say it is not immoral, or they are not sure, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov survey published Tuesday.
Three-quarters of Trump voters also contend that, even if Daniels’ allegations are true, they are not relevant to Trump’s presidency. In fact, they claim to be barely concerned about a president’s private life at all: Seventy percent say an elected official who has committed an “immoral act” in his or her personal life can still behave ethically and fulfill duties in the public and professional sphere.
Conservatives have long given Trump a pass on his less-than-stellar record on so-called “moral” values. The thrice-married president has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than a dozen women, and boasted of grabbing women “by the pussy” and being allowed to do it because he’s famous. He also publicly endorsed Roy Moore for his Alabama Senate campaign after the judge was accused of sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl when he was 32.
Given what other accusations Trump has weathered thus far, an alleged consensual affair with a porn actress more than a decade ago may seem comparably tame. Daniels, an accomplished equestrian whose given name is Stephanie Clifford, claims she had a tryst with Trump starting in 2006, a few months after Melania Trump gave birth to Trump’s son, Barron. (A Playboy model, Karen McDougal, also claims to have had an affair with Trump around that time.) Trump has denied the allegations.
Daniels’ story received fresh attention following news reports that Trump’s attorney arranged a $130,000 payment to Daniels shortly before the 2016 election, which barred her from discussing the alleged sexual encounter. Such a payment, if intended to influence the election, may have run afoul of election laws. Daniels is currently fighting a legal battle to share her story publicly.
Some Trump supporters say the whole story is fake news: Only 20 percent say they find reports of the payment credible, while a mere 11 percent give credence to Daniels’ claim about the affair. Forty percent or more say they haven’t heard enough to weigh in on either question, or that they’re unsure about the allegations.
Comparatively, more than 80 percent of Hillary Clinton voters say they find each report credible. And though Democrats once sought to downplay former President Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky, 86 percent say that a Trump affair with Daniels would be immoral. Just below a quarter say that elected officials who act immorally in their personal lives can behave ethically in office.
Christian evangelicals, who helped power Trump to victory in 2016, have in recent years become more accepting of politicians who commit “immoral” acts in their personal lives. There are modest signs that Trump’s hold on some white evangelical women may be slipping, according a New York Times report on Sunday. But compared with the rest of the president’s base, his evangelical supporters appear only slightly more concerned about this latest scandal, according to the HuffPost/YouGov survey.
About two-thirds of self-described evangelical or “born-again Christians” who voted for Trump say that it would be immoral if Trump had an affair with Daniels, compared to 40 percent of non-evangelical Trump voters. But few evangelical Trump voters say they consider the affair allegations credible, and nearly seven in 10 say that even if true, Daniels’ allegations aren’t relevant to Trump’s presidency.
More than half of all Trump voters don’t hesitate to say the phrase “moral leader” applies to the president very or extremely well.
Use the widget below to further explore the results of the HuffPost/YouGov survey, using the menu at the top to select survey questions and the buttons at the bottom to filter the data by subgroups:
The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted March 9-12 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.
HuffPost has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls.You can learn moreabout this project andtake part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. More details on the polls’ methodology are availablehere.
Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some, but not all, potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate.Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.