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Donald Trump is wrong: People do care about his tax returns.


Trump’s campaign is predicated, in part, on the belief that people do not particularly care about policy details. As Trump said on Meet the Press in July of last year, when asked if he would unveil a comprehensive immigration policy, “I think the press is more eager to see it than the voters, to be honest. I think the voters like me, they understand me, they know I’m going to do the job. ... I think they trust me. I think they know I’m going to make good deals for them.”

While only one of the many, many norms Trump has flaunted—every Republican nominee for president has released them since 1980—Trump’s refusal to release them is one of the 2016 campaign’s abiding mysteries, and one of its longest-running controversies. So it should come as no surprise that Trump is making a similar argument about his tax returns. Asked about his refusal to release them on Tuesday morning by Good Morning America, Trump said, “As far as my taxes are concerned, the only one that cares is the press, I will tell you. And even the press, I tell you, it’s not a big deal.” Trump has previously claimed that he hasn’t released his tax returns because he’s under audit, even though being audited does not prevent you from releasing your returns.

But Trump’s wrong: People do care. A Monmouth University poll released last week showed that a majority of voters—62 percent—think the fact that Trump has not released his returns is either very important or somewhat important, while 36 percent say it is not important. Three-fourths of the sample were aware that Trump had not released his returns. There’s plenty of evidence that voters don’t particularly care about the contents of most tax returns—for instance, only half of the sample was aware that Clinton had released hers—but it seems that voters are very interested in the contents of Trump’s, no matter what he says.