Trump enjoys strong support among Republicans. The general election could be a different story
NEW YORK (AP) — After each new indictment, Donald Trump He’s bragged that his standing among Republicans is only getting better — and he has a point.
Nearly two-thirds of Republicans — 63% — now say they want the former president to run again, according to a new poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. That’s slightly higher than the 55% who said the same in April when Trump began facing a slew of criminal charges. Seven in 10 Republicans now have a favorable opinion of Trump, up slightly from the 60% who said so two months ago.
But in a crucial warning sign for the former president and his supporters, Trump faces glaring vulnerabilities heading into General elections, with many Americans staunchly against it. While most Republicans — 74% — say they would support him in November 2024, 53% of Americans say they would definitely not support him if he were the nominee. 11% say they are unlikely to support it in November 2024.
The results reinforce the arguments of some of Trump’s rivals for the GOP nomination who have hailed his tenure as president, but warn that he cannot win the general election when he must compete for votes outside the GOP base. Trump lost the popular vote in the 2016 campaign, and only reached the presidency by winning a majority in the Electoral College. Lost to the Democrat Joe Biden by an even larger margin of 7 million votes in 2020, a defeat he falsely attributed to widespread voter fraud.
Some Republicans who are pressing the party to bypass Trump argue that its standing with the general public has only deteriorated since the last presidential election, affected by its role in fomenting the violence. January 6, 2021, riots At the US Capitol and the constant unrest that surrounds it, typified by his unprecedented legal troubles.
“There are so many voters who voted for Trump twice that they can’t vote for him again after all of this,” said Sarah Longwell, an anti-Trump Republican strategist who runs focus groups with GOP voters.
A Trump campaign spokesman did not respond to a request for comment on the dynamics described in the poll conducted before Trump’s indictment late Monday in Georgia. In a sprawling 98-page indictment which accuses him and 18 others of criminal conspiracy to overturn the results of the 2020 election in that state. He now faces a total of 91 criminal charges in cases filed in Georgia, New York, Washington, D.C., and Florida.
Adding to Trump’s headwinds, the poll found that opposition to Biden’s re-election is not deeply rooted. Facing only nominal challengers in the Democratic primary, the 80-year-old president faces skepticism among voters, particularly those over his age. But only 43% of Americans said they definitely wouldn’t support him in the general election, while another 11% said they probably wouldn’t.
Meanwhile, the accusations in Georgia and Washington have turned Trump’s attention back to his grievances about the recent election — something his aides and allies have spent months urging Trump to de-emphasize at his events.
Hours after the Georgia indictment was announced, he announced plans on his social media site to hold an event next Monday at his New Jersey golf club to unveil a new “report” that would present “indisputable” evidence of election fraud.
Federal and state election officials and Trump’s attorney general He said there is no credible evidence that the election was tainted. As were the former president’s allegations of fraud Completely rejected by the courts, including justices appointed by Trump. And in Georgia, the state at the center of his latest indictment, Three tales conducted after the elections – each of which confirmed his loss to Biden.
While Trump’s pleas resonate with GOP voters, she is less popular with independents and swing voters who would need to win her in the general election and has been blamed for some of the GOP’s losses in the 2022 midterm elections.
“Trump needs to personify the voters’ grievances, not his grievances,” Longwell said. “Anytime he talks about 2020, he’s looking back and voters are most excited about looking forward.”
As Trump’s legal troubles intensified, other Republican presidential candidates have spent the past week courting voters at the Iowa state fair, a ritual of a more traditional political era. While Republicans on the show have been largely supportive of Trump, there has been some evidence of concern about the political impact of the indictments.
Rich Stricklett, a Republican and Trump supporter from Bondurant, Iowa, echoed Trump’s dismissal of the charges as a “witch hunt.”
He said: “I think it is politically motivated to overthrow a candidate who represents a threat to the current president.” “I think that’s what they’re trying to do is make sure they don’t go out and vote him out because he’s hanging over his head.”
While Stricklett points to polls showing the indictments seem to have helped Trump in the primaries, he said he’s worried about the potential impact.
He said, “What worries me is that it is enough that he won’t win.”
Mary Kenney, a Republican from Des Moines, who ran for Trump’s presidency in 2016, also criticized the accusations.
“They seem to throw anything at the wall to see if it sticks because they’re so afraid of it,” she said.
But as Kinney looks forward to the upcoming election, she plans to support South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott at the caucuses, arguing that it is time for the party to move forward with a next-generation candidate.
“I think people are just done with it,” she said. “It’s time to change, it’s time to change, it’s time to move on. I think people are trying to move on from 2020.”
But others warn that it would be too early to assume that Trump’s legal troubles will lead to his political downfall. Former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who ran against Trump in the 2016 Republican primary, said he was skeptical the former president would face political consequences from the courtroom dramas.
“Anyone else,” he said, “the circumstances would be much different.” “But one of the main things President Trump has done well is kind of put this as, ‘They’re after me because I dared take on the machine, I dared take the swamp, I dared take on the establishment.'”
Walker said he believes there are a lot of voters out there — “not just primary, but a lot of swing voters… who’ve been let down so many times” and “want someone who isn’t afraid of anybody. So, in some ways, this suggests that he’s Maybe he’s doing it right for average Americans because the left is out to beat him.”
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Trump ally who has blasted the charges as “disgusting,” predicted they would anger the country and help Trump, even in the general election.
“I think every American who cares about the rule of law should be outraged by what they saw,” Gingrich said. He will be stronger and win the general election.
Associated Press writers Thomas Beaumont and Hannah Fingerhout in Des Moines, Iowa, contributed to this report.
The survey was conducted among 1,165 adults from August 10-14 using a sample from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak panel, which is designed to be representative of the US population. The sampling error margin for all respondents is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.
This article originally appeared on apnews.com