An overwhelming majority of Americans say President Biden should have publicly disclosed his mishandling of government secrets before the November midterms, according to a new survey.
Seventy-nine percent of registered voters say Mr. Biden should have immediately come clean after classified documents were discovered at his Washington think tank on Nov. 2, just six days before the midterms.
That figure includes 66% of Democrats, 91% of Republicans and 80% of independents who say the president made the wrong call in concealing the discovery, the survey conducted by the Harvard Center for American Political Studies and Harris Insights & Analytics found.
Mr. Biden has become engulfed in the biggest political crisis of his presidency after his potentially illegal missteps were made public earlier this month.
Classified government documents dating back to Mr. Biden’s time as vice president in the Obama White House were discovered at a Washington office building that he used when he was an honorary professor at the University of Pennsylvania on Nov. 2, just six days before the midterm elections.
The matter only became public two months later when it was uncovered by CBS News.
A second batch of classified documents was later found in Mr. Biden’s Wilmington garage by White House aides. Mr. Biden’s staff notified the Justice Department that it had discovered the second batch on Dec. 20.
Those documents were publicly disclosed on Jan. 12.
Mr. Biden has said he had no misgivings about concealing his mishandling of government secrets from the public until months after classified documents were first discovered.
“I have no regrets,” the president said on Thursday. “I’m following what the lawyers have told me they want me to do. That’s exactly what we’re doing.”
“There’s no there there,” he said.
The Harvard-Harris poll, which surveyed 2,050 registered voters from Jan. 18-19, found that 64% of respondents, considered the presence of improperly secured classified documents to be a serious breach of national security.
An overwhelming majority of voters, 83%, said Mr. Biden’s mishandling of classified documents should be investigated by the FBI. That figure includes 73% of Democrats, 92% of Republicans and 82% of independents.
While Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed a special counsel to review Mr. Biden’s mishandling of the classified documents, the Department of Justice decided against sending FBI agents to conduct a search of Mr. Biden’s property.
President Biden’s personal attorneys have instead searched Mr. Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware for additional classified documents before handing them over to the DOJ.
A majority of voters, 74%, say the FBI should have conducted the search of Mr. Biden’s property. That figure includes 58% of Democrats, 90% of Republicans and 73% of independents.
Republicans have criticized the DOJ’s handling of the matter as unfair, noting that the FBI searched former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida where classified documents were also discovered in August.
Mr. Garland has also appointed a special counsel to handle the investigation into Mr. Trump’s mishandling of government secrets.
Half of voters say the DOJ has handled Mr. Biden’s case more leniently than Mr. Trump’s, while 29% say the two cases have been handled the same and 21% say Mr. Biden has been treated more harshly than Mr. Trump.
The Harvard-Harris poll, which was published Friday, does not report a margin of error.