- The Washington Times - Friday, March 31, 2023

Most general election voters believe former President Trump‘s indictment and looming arrest will either help him or have no impact on his 2024 presidential campaign, a recent poll found.

Another national survey showed most Americans believe the case against Mr. Trump is politically motivated.

Overall, 36.8% of general election voters believe Mr. Trump‘s indictment will be a political winner for the former president and 37.5% believe it will not be a major factor, compared to 25.7% who say it will be detrimental, according to a Trafalgar Group poll conducted last week.

The options in both polls split starkly along party lines.

A majority of Republicans believe former President Trump‘s reelection bid will benefit from his indictment by a New York City grand jury on charges stemming from hush money payments to a porn star, found the Trafalgar Group poll.

The optimistic assessment of Mr. Trump‘s legal woes by Republican voters isn’t shared by Democrats in the poll, which was taken between March 20 and March 23, when an indictment of the former president appeared imminent.

SEE ALSO: Trump indicted over hush money; first former president in U.S. history to face criminal charges

A grand jury on Thursday indicted Mr. Trump on multiple charges related to a $130,000 payment made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. The indictment has been widely criticized by the GOP as a politically motivated, weak case advanced by liberal prosecutor Alvin Bragg, who they say has gone soft on prosecuting serious crime in New York City. Democrats believe the case is legitimate and Mr. Trump should be prosecuted.

The party split on Mr. Bragg’s motives was reflected in a Quinnipiac University released a day before the indictment. Overall, the poll found 6 in 10 Americans believe “the Manhattan District Attorney’s case involving former President Donald Trump is mainly motivated by politics, while 32% think the case is mainly motivated by the law.”

Republicans and Democrats are split on how they predict the charges will impact Mr. Trump‘s new White House bid.

The nationwide survey on likely general election voters conducted by Trafalgar in partnership with the conservative group Convention of States found Democrats think the charges will hurt Mr. Trump. Fewer than 15% of Democrats polled said Mr. Trump would benefit from the charges, while nearly 43% said it would hurt him politically. Another 42.5% said it would make no difference.

More than 56% of GOP voters said it would help Mr. Trump‘s campaign and roughly 11% said it would damage his efforts to win back the White House. Another third of GOP voters said it would have no impact.

Independents, a key persuadable voting faction, by a 33.6% to 27.5% margin said Mr. Trump‘s campaign would benefit, rather than suffer, from the indictment charges. Another 39% said it wouldn’t matter at all.

SEE ALSO: Trump indictment: What will the arrest process look like?

“It’s obvious to the majority of Americans that former President Trump is being hounded by a politically-motivated witch hunt designed to discredit him in order to render him a permanent pariah in American politics,” said Convention of States President Mark Meckler. “This tactic has never worked, and these early numbers already reveal it’s going to backfire.”

The Trafalgar poll is among several surveys taken before Mr. Trump was indicted that measured how people believed it would impact the former president’s new White House bid.

The Quinnipiac poll of Americans — not necessarily likely voters — said by a margin of 57% to 38% that criminal charges should disqualify Mr. Trump from another run for president.

That figure was split dramatically by party affiliation. Only 23% of Americans who identified as Republicans said the charges should disqualify Mr. Trump, compared to 88% of Democrats. Among those identifying as independents, 55% said Mr. Trump should be prohibited from running for president if he’s indicted, while another 36% said it should not disqualify him.

Despite Mr. Trump‘s legal woes, he aligned nearly identically with Mr. Biden in the Quinnipiac poll’s measurement of how registered voters felt about them.

Mr. Trump‘s favorability rating among voters measured at 36% compared to Mr. Biden’s 37%. Mr. Trump‘s and Mr. Biden’s unfavorable ratings were 58% and 56%, respectively.

• Susan Ferrechio can be reached at sferrechio@washingtontimes.com.

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