Donald Trump — Last week, Donald Trump became the first president, past or present, to be charged.
The Manhattan grand jury made their decision after lengthy deliberation.
This is just one of several high-profile Trump cases.
A surprising rally
One would think that with a series of indictments against him, Donald Trump’s political aspirations are imperiled.
Yet, many Republican leaders have resisted criticizing him.
They have instead attacked Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who launched the charges against Trump.
Likewise, betting markets continue to indicate that Donald Trump is a lock for the Republican candidacy in 2024.
The indictment shifted the world on its axis, ushering in a unique situation with a shifting political reality.
Three elements are most likely to account for Donald Trump’s popularity:
- Trump’s polling edge in the GOP primary for 2024 has risen in the last month, despite the indictment hovering over his head.
- Republicans believe the investigations are politically motivated.
- Most Trump supporters are unconcerned about his chances in the general election.
Similarly, polls from Fox News, Monmouth University, and Quinnipiac University show that Donald Trump’s Republican primary prospects are improving.
Trump was leading in polls by double digits in March.
Additionally, the former president gained an advantage over his nearest rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has yet to begin his campaign.
Trump built a 12-point advantage in February.
The conclusions of the Quinnipiac study were disclosed last week.
Just 18% of registered Republican supporters felt Trump’s charges about a hush money scheme in New York were genuine.
58% of individuals believed they weren’t.
There may be a shift in thinking as a result of the indictment, but it may not be as significant as it looks.
According to the Quinnipiac poll, the majority of Republicans do not believe Alvin Bragg is objective.
Almost every Republican (93%) and the majority of voters (63%), felt his case was motivated by politics.
Republicans look to be on Trump’s side when it comes to any indictment.
A recent Marist College poll asked respondents if they felt the various Trump investigations were fair or a “witch hunt.”
The 2020 elections
Donald Trump has also been linked to the Capitol Riot, in addition to the Manhattan case.
Most Republicans feel his efforts to overturn the 2020 election result did not constitute criminality.
Polls show that the majority of Republicans believe President Trump’s actions were justified.
The majority of people believed Joe Biden won only due to voter fraud.
The bigger picture
Republicans’ assumption that the lawsuits are politically motivated is only one component of the problem.
Another factor to examine is how Republicans regard Donald Trump in relation to the bigger general electorate.
Republicans believe he is innocent, but that his legal issues will be a hurdle in the general election because people believe the investigations are fair.
When it comes to Republican primary candidates, polls show that agreement on ideas is more essential than electability.
According to a CNN poll, Republicans and Republican-leaning independents prioritized opposing Biden over policy agreement by a 59% to 41% margin.
Trump supporters were divided, with 61% stating that issue agreement should take priority above electability and 39% disagreeing.
The results show a major shift from what happened in the 2020 Democratic primary.
By March 2020, 73% of Biden supporters encouraged voters to put electability ahead of issue consensus.
In other words, Biden’s presentation to Democratic voters outperformed Trump’s offer to Republicans.
A new hope
Despite the fact that most Republicans feel other potential candidates have a greater chance of unseating Biden, Trump remains the frontrunner.
A February Marist poll found that 54% of Republicans feel that someone other than Trump could give the Republican GOP a better chance of winning back the White House in 2024.
But, Republican voters may not have made a mistake in 2023.
Notwithstanding the likely electability difficulties, Donald Trump looks to be gaining a lead over Joe Biden in general election polls earlier in the 2024 cycle than he did in the 2020 cycle.
Yet, the same poll revealed that DeSantis outperforms Trump versus Biden, which is consistent with what most Republicans feel.