What Do Voters Make of the Trump Indictment?

The dust has begun to settle on Alvin Bragg’s political indictment of Donald Trump. So what do people make of it? Here are two polls that seem to find very different results.

The ABC Ipsos poll looks very bad for Trump. His favorable rating has plunged all the way down to 25%. I think that may be lower than Nixon’s, shortly before he resigned:

It appears the Bragg indictment has something to do with that. ABC/Ipsos finds 52% of respondents saying the charges against Trump are either “very serious” (30%) or “somewhat serious” (22%), compared with 39% who say the charges are “not too serious” or “not serious at all.”

By 50% to 33%, respondents in this poll say that Trump should have been charged with a crime in the Stormy Daniels matter; that is up from 45% who said he deserved to be charged at the end of March. No wonder: 53% say Trump intentionally did something illegal, and another 11% say he acted wrongly but not intentionally. Only 20% say he did nothing wrong.

At the same time, respondents think that Bragg’s charges were politically motivated, by 50% to 36%. Nevertheless, by 48% to 35%, a plurality of respondents say Trump should “suspend his presidential campaign because of this indictment.”

Those numbers are grim. Rasmussen asked different questions and got different answers, which at least superficially are better for Trump. Rasmussen asked:

Former President Donald Trump has been charged with multiple felony counts in Manhattan. This is the first time in history a former president has been arraigned for a crime. Is this good for America or bad for America?

A clear majority, 55%, responded that Bragg’s indictment is bad for America. This question is especially striking:

Do you agree or disagree with this statement: “This is a really serious time because this is Banana Republic sort of stuff. Using the law as a weapon against a political opponent is so wrong”?

To that question:

Sixty-four percent (64%) of voters agree with that statement, including 48% who Strongly Agree that Trump’s prosecution is “banana republic sort of stuff.” Twenty-eight percent (28%) disagree, including 20% who Strongly Disagree.

But is that the right interpretation of the data? It may be that 64% agreed that “using the law against a political opponent is so wrong,” not necessarily that the charges against Trump are wrong.

In any event, these views are not necessarily inconsistent. I think many Americans believe that Donald Trump did something wrong in connection with the Stormy Daniels payoff, and likely committed a crime, while at the same time thinking that Bragg’s prosecution is politically motivated and “banana republic stuff.” What is incredible to me is that some Republicans are talking seriously about nominating a candidate about whom 53% say he intentionally did something illegal, 52% say the charges against him are serious, and a plurality of 48% say he should suspend his presidential campaign as a result. Partly as a result of which, his approval rating has fallen to 25%–or, to be fair, a little higher in some other polls.

It seems unbelievable that one of our major political parties is thinking of nominating someone with numbers this bad and baggage this heavy, but that is the world we find ourselves in. The only possible consolation is that Joe Biden’s numbers are not a great deal better.

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