- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 22, 2023

A majority of GOP primary voters are backing former President Donald Trump for the 2024 presidential nomination despite a possible indictment over alleged hush money payments to an adult film star, according to a new poll.

The Morning Consult tracker said 54% of primary voters back Mr. Trump while 26% want Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, meaning the governor faces his lowest level of support since the poll started tracking the race in December.

Unlike Mr. Trump, Mr. DeSantis has not formally launched a 2024 campaign, though he’s expected to announce a bid after the end of his state’s legislative session in May.

Mr. Trump is maintaining his hold on the GOP electorate despite looming legal problems. The ex-president predicted he would be arrested Tuesday on an indictment related to a New York probe of alleged payments to porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016 to cover up an alleged sexual encounter. Mr. Trump denies having the encounter and said he hasn’t committed a crime.

The indictment hasn’t happened, but police departments are preparing for protests in case it does occur. Prosecutors are also looking into Mr. Trump’s actions following the 2020 election, particularly in Georgia, and how classified documents were stored at his Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago.

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who formally launched a campaign, drew 4% in the Morning Consult poll, placing her fourth behind former Vice President Mike Pence at 7%.

The vice president is touring the country and promoting a book but hasn’t announced a presidential campaign.

The Morning Consult poll found Mr. Pence’s favorability rating declined from 60% to 55% during a week that featured headlines about his condemnation of Mr. Trump’s actions related to the Capitol protest on Jan. 6, 2021.

The survey was conducted from March 17 to 19 among 3,394 potential Republican primary voters, with a margin of error of 2 points.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide