Most Americans believe Trump intentionally did something illegal, but many think charges were politically motivated
Poll shows how Americans feel about Trump’s indictment
Former President Donald Trump’s 34 felony charges haven’t damped support among Republican voters, but he could face trouble in a general election.
While recent polls of Republican voters show Trump with a strong and growing lead over his closest rival, potential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, another poll gives reason for Republicans to be concerned.
A 53% majority of U.S. adults think Trump intentionally did something illegal, according to an ABC News/Ipsos poll released Sunday, including nearly 1 in 5 Republicans. A fifth believe Trump did nothing wrong, while 11% believe he did something wrong but it wasn’t intentional.
Trump has pushed back against the charges, which involve an alleged hush money payment made during the 2016 campaign, and he claims the only reason he’s under investigation is because of “racists, lunatics and radical left maniacs.” In a post on his social media network, Trump wrote that his opponents are “going right to the old Soviet Union playbook and using the DOJ, FBI & others in ‘justice’ to interfere in our once sacred elections.”
Many Americans agree with Trump’s framing of the charges. The poll found 47% of U.S. adults believe the charges against Trump are politically motivated.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., characterized the charges as a weaponization of the Justice Department.
“Alvin Bragg is attempting to interfere in our democratic process by invoking federal law to bring politicized charges against President Trump, admittedly using federal funds, while at the same time arguing that the peoples’ representatives in Congress lack jurisdiction to investigate this farce,” McCarthy tweeted last week about Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney.
Trump has made at least 20 claims on his social media site that he’s the target of criminal charges and investigations because of liberal election interference, The Associated Press found. Trump continues to claim he lost the 2020 election because of widespread fraud, claims that are unsubstantiated.
The poll found 48% believe Trump should suspend his campaign, up from 43% who said so last week. But Trump is showing no sign of letting up. In the three days after news about the indictment, the campaign said it raised $7 million, and Trump is consolidating support among elected Republican officials. As of Monday, Trump has been endorsed by one governor, six U.S. senators and 40 U.S. House members, according to a tally by Insider.
Other Republican presidential hopefuls want to move past Trump’s indictment. Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who announced a run for president, told ABC News “This Week” that he believes Trump should drop out because his indictment is “too much of a sideshow and distraction.”
Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s campaign manager Betsy Ankney called Trump’s prosecution partisan in a memo to campaign donors and supporters, and wrote that it “understandably made Republicans more sympathetic to the former president.” Still, Ankney wrote in the memo, first reported by Axios, this shows that Trump’s campaign is still backwards-looking.
“It’s increasingly clear that Trump’s candidacy is more consumed by the grievances of the past and the promise of more drama in the future, rather than a forward-looking vision for the American people,” she wrote.