The latest numbers are in and they spell great news for former President Donald Trump and his supporters. Not surprisingly, the results of a new poll show that the politically motivated indictments against him aren’t slowing down his primary campaign one iota. Indeed, they seem to be boosting his popularity among Republican voters.
The Wall Street Journal released the findings of a survey showing that Trump continues to lead his primary opponents by a healthy margin:
Donald Trump has expanded his dominating lead for the Republican presidential nomination, a new Wall Street Journal poll shows, as GOP primary voters overwhelmingly see his four criminal prosecutions as lacking merit and about half say the indictments fuel their support for him.
The new survey finds that what was once a two-man race for the nomination has collapsed into a lopsided contest in which Trump, for now, has no formidable challenger. The former president is the top choice of 59% of GOP primary voters, up 11 percentage points since April, when the Journal tested a slightly different field of potential and declared candidates.
Trump’s lead over his top rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, has nearly doubled since April to 46 percentage points. At 13% support, DeSantis is barely ahead of the rest of the field, none of whom has broken out of single-digit support.
But that’s not all. The poll also showed a majority of Republican voters viewing the myriad of indictments against the former president as motivated by politics, not a pursuit of justice.
Asked about the indictments of Trump, more than 60% of Republican primary voters said each was politically motivated and without merit. Some 78% said Trump’s actions after the 2020 election were legitimate efforts to ensure an accurate vote, while 16% said Trump had illegally tried to block Congress from certifying an election he had lost. About half, or 48%, said the indictments made them more likely to vote for Trump in 2024, while 16% said they made them less likely to support him for a second term.
Even further, WSJ’s survey also showed that Trump is standing neck-and-neck with President Joe Biden among overall voters:
The survey also found Trump running about dead-even with President Biden among voters overall in a hypothetical rematch of the 2020 election, with low interest among voters for two third-party candidates. Trump had 40% support to 39% for Biden, with potential Green Party and Libertarian candidates drawing a combined 3%. A significant share—some 17%—were undecided.
Given prior polling showing that Trump’s legal troubles are only bolstering his primary campaign, these current results are expected. Instead of harming his candidacy, they have only fortified his decisive lead over his opponents.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, once believed to be the only Republican candidate who could threaten Trump’s chances of winning the GOP nomination, has tumbled downward in the polls. His support plummeted from 24 percent in April to 13 percent currently.
This development indicates an ongoing trend in the Republican electorate, which has become more tolerant of figures who might have legal or ethical issues, as long as they are in alignment on policy issues. It also shows that as of this moment, Trump’s issues are not hurting his candidacy against President Biden. In the past, these matters would have almost certainly tanked a candidate’s campaign. But these numbers show that so far, the Don remains Teflon.
Still, while these numbers are encouraging for Team Trump, it does not mean the outcome of the primary race is a foregone conclusion. As I’ve pointed out previously, there is still plenty of time for the polling percentages to change – especially as more candidates drop out of the race. Much, if not most, of their support would likely go towards other contenders, increasing their chances of catching up to the former president.
Trump’s lead in the Republican field might seem insurmountable for the moment. But history tells us that early leads – even as considerable as Trump’s – can evaporate and others could be catapulted to the forefront.