Former President Donald Trump was arraigned a month ago in a Florida courthouse over his handling of classified documents, pleading not guilty to 37 felony counts — and a majority of Utah voters say they think the charges were politically motivated.

Among Utahns, 6 in 10 say the charges against Trump were politically motivated, according to the latest Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll. Nearly 35% of voters said the indictment wasn’t politically motivated and 5% said they didn’t know.

Dan Jones & Associates surveyed 801 registered Utah voters from June 26 to July 4. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.46 percentage points.

Partisan divide over Trump charges

The poll showcases a steep divide between the two political parties. Of the Democrats surveyed, 85% said the indictment wasn’t politically motivated, while only 8% said it was and 7% said they didn’t know.

Meanwhile, among the Republicans polled, three-fourths said the indictment was politically motivated while 23% said it wasn’t and only 3% said they didn’t know.

Utahns in the survey who don’t identify with either party were more evenly split, with 48% saying the charges against Trump were politically motivated and 43% saying they were not.

Those results are similar to a Deseret News/Hinckley poll in April when Trump was charged by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg for allegedly covering up an affair during Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. At the time, he was charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records.

Poll: Will voters support Trump despite his indictment?

Trump’s support sustained despite charges

The April poll found that among Republican supporters, 31% said the charges would make them more likely to vote for Trump and 41% said there was no change, while 28% said Trump’s legal issues will make it less likely for them to support the former president.

“Did these indictments cause President Trump to lose a lot of supporters? The answer is no, it did not,” said Jason Perry, director of the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics. “Those people who were with him before are largely with him now, and that has just not changed even with the most recent indictment.”

Earlier this week, Trump’s legal team asked to delay the start of the federal trial over the classified documents, contesting the start date of Dec. 11, proposed by the special counsel, Jack Smith, per CNN.

Trump’s lawyers wrote in a case filing that there are extraordinary circumstances surrounding the case, since the former president has consistently remained the leading Republican candidate in the polls.

“The court now presides over a prosecution advanced by the administration of a sitting president against his chief political rival, himself a leading candidate for the presidency of the United States,” the filing stated, per The New York Times. “Therefore, a measured consideration and timeline that allows for a careful and complete review of the procedures that led to this indictment and the unprecedented legal issues presented herein best serves the interests of the defendants and the public.”

Smith’s team said there was no reason to postpone until after the 2024 election, calling Trump’s legal team’s arguments “borderline frivolous,” according to Politico.

Trump’s lawyers and Smith’s office are set to appear in court Tuesday to determine how the case will move forward.

Trump took to Truth Social last week to comment on the case, writing, “as the leading political opponent of crooked Joe Biden, getting indicted and arrested by sick government ‘thugs’ would be my great honor.”

“I am doing it for our country, to show how evil and sinister a place it has become.”

Are Utahns following Trump case closely?

The latest poll also asked Utah voters how closely they are following news of the charges against Trump, with a plurality, 42% saying somewhat closely.

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Meanwhile, 19% say they follow it very closely, 27% say not very closely and 12% say they don’t follow it at all.

The numbers were similar, and in some cases, the same, among Republicans and Democrats.

“I think this is blending into a lot of noise,” said Perry. “It’s no longer a key issue that you would think that it would be or that it has been in the past.”

Perry pointed out that while a majority of voters say the indictment was politically motivated, “it’s not enough to make them closely watch the issue.”

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