Four-time indictee Donald Trump continues to dominate the Republican primary according to just about all polling—national, statewide, or otherwise.
But while Trump’s drip, drip, drip of criminal indictments shows few signs so far of hurting him with the GOP base, it certainly isn’t boosting his general election chances—mostly because he’s further repelling independents. Let’s check out several data points from the latest polling.
A Quinnipiac University poll, conducted partially after the Georgia indictment dropped, (Aug. 10 – 14), found that a 54% majority of Americans think Trump should be criminally prosecuted, 12 points more than the 42% who say he shouldn’t.
Crucially, independent voters favor Trump being prosecuted by 20 points, 57% – 37%.
Nearly two-thirds of Americans (64%) call the federal charges serious, with a 52% majority saying they are “very serious” while just 21% say they are “not serious at all.”
Again, crucially, 51% of independents think the federal criminal charges are very serious.
Nearly 7 in 10 Americans (68%) think a felony conviction should render someone ineligible to be president. Independents hold that view by a roughly 40-point margin, 67% – 25%.
None of that polling is good news for Trump, particularly since independents could doom him in a general election. In the 2018 midterms, Democrats won the independent vote in exit polling by 12 points and trounced Republicans. Four years later, Democrats defied conventional wisdom, won independents by 2 points in a midterm where they controlled the White House, and wildly outperformed expectations.
And look at 2020: 94% of Democrats voted for Joe Biden, 94% of Republicans voted for Trump, and independents—who accounted for roughly one-quarter of the electorate—favored Biden by 13 points, 54% – 41%.
The latest AP-NORC poll (conducted before the Georgia indictment dropped) also had promising news for Democrats: 64% of Americans say they definitely (53%) or probably (11%) would vote against Trump in the 2024 general election. The same question about supporting Biden found 54% would definitely (43%) or probably (11%) not vote for him.
The AP-NORC survey also found that 51% of Americans think Trump’s attempt to interfere in Georgia’s election was “illegal” while just 15% say he did “nothing wrong.” Among Independents, 41% believe Trump’s actions were illegal while just 14% say he did nothing wrong.
If 2024 is a Biden-Trump rematch, it will be dominated by negative partisanship and likely decided by independents. Even as Trump continues to consolidate the Republican base, it’s more a reflection of the GOP field’s weakness than of Trump’s strength. When you look under the hood, Trump’s support in a general election is softening.
Did anything happen while we were all taking a well-deserved break? Something about Donald Trump being indicted not once, but two times! Also in the news: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ campaign collapse. So much is happening!
Republished with permission from Daily Kos.