Even indicted, Trump's poll numbers skyrocket
(YAHOO/KAKE) - A new Yahoo News/YouGov poll — one of the first conducted after former President Donald Trump was indicted Thursday for his role in paying hush money to a porn star — shows that many Americans are still rallying to his side, as he surged to his largest-ever lead over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, his likely 2024 GOP primary challenger. Republican voters especially continue to rally around the only president in history to face criminal charges.
In the previous Yahoo News/YouGov survey, conducted less than two weeks ago, Trump led DeSantis by eight percentage points in a head-to-head matchup among registered voters. It was as recently as February's polls that DeSantis led instead.
Yahoo reports that the new, post-indictment poll suddenly finds Trump lapping DeSantis by 26 percentage points — 57% to 31% — in a one-on-one contest. The former president even attracts majority support (52%, up from 44% previously) when pitted against a wider, 10-candidate field of those who've declared themselves as running for the highest office in the United States, while DeSantis plummets to 21% (down from 28%).
A full 54% of Republicans and Republican leaners would now prefer Trump to be the GOP’s 2024 presidential nominee rather than “someone else” (33%). These numbers are up from the last time people were polled.
1,089 U.S. adults took the survey, which was conducted in the first day following Trump's indictment by a New York grand jury.
It is not all good news for the former president.
Just 34% of Americans, for instance, said they had heard “a lot” about “Donald Trump being indicted on Thursday in Manhattan” — a number that will rise in the coming days. And while the former president has reportedly been charged on more than two dozen counts, the public still doesn’t understand exactly what the charges entail.
While some pro-Trump respondents may have been especially eager to register their opposition to the indictment by expressing support for Trump, it’s unclear that Trump’s legal woes will actually aid his campaign for the Oval Office in 2024.
Additionally, the poll showed that most Americans, for instance, think Trump should not be allowed to serve a second term if he is “convicted of a crime in this case” (52%). Perhaps even more ominous for Trump is how few think he should be allowed to serve as president if found guilty: just 31%. Another 17% are unsure.
Majorities of registered voters — 64%, 54% and 71%, respectively — believe Trump committed crimes.
Beyond the GOP base, Americans as a whole seem to be predictably divided over Trump’s indictment. Asked whether they “approve or disapprove of Donald Trump being indicted for falsifying business records to conceal a hush money payment to a porn star,” a narrow plurality (42%) of Americans say they approve, while 39% say they disapprove and 19% say they’re not sure. A full 69% of Democrats approve; a full 66% of Republicans disapprove.
Americans are evenly divided as to whether the indictment is motivated more by a desire for justice or whether its a way to cut into Trump's political popularity by a polling score of 43% to 42%. Three-quarters of Democrats saying the former (75%) and three-quarters of Republicans saying the latter (77%). Trump has characterized the indictment as “political Persecution and Election Interference at the highest level in history.”
Likewise, the combined number of Democrats (67%) who say they’re personally enthusiastic about (29%) or satisfied with (38%) Trump’s indictment is nearly identical to the combined number of Republicans (68%) who say they’re personally dissatisfied (29%) or angry (39%).
That level of uncertainty — especially among Republicans — leaves Trump politically vulnerable if indictments (and possibly convictions) start to pile up. Even 14% of Republicans who support Trump in a hypothetical two-way matchup against DeSantis say Trump should not be allowed to serve again if he’s convicted in the hush money case.
A survey pitting Biden and Trump against each other is very close, with Biden leading Trump by only two points, 45% to 43%.
Even so, the indictment seems to have done little to damage Trump — at least initially. His favorable rating (45%) is now slightly higher than on the 11 previous surveys in which Yahoo News and YouGov asked a comparable question (where it ranged from 40% to 43%). Among Republicans, Trump’s favorable rating has risen to 79% (up from 74% in the wake of the 2022 midterm elections). And the survey also shows slight increases in positive perceptions of the former president — and slight decreases in negative perceptions — on a series of repeat questions:
*62% agree that “Trump says what other politicians are afraid to say,” up from 55% when the question was last asked, in December 2022.
*49% agree that “the only thing Donald Trump cares about is himself,” down from 53% when the question was last asked in December 2022.
* 34% say “yes” when asked if Trump “respects women” (48% say no), up slightly from 30% in August 2020
* 35% say Trump is honest and trustworthy (47% say he is not), up from 30% in August 2020
*44% say “yes” when asked if Trump’s family is corrupt (36% say no), down from 49% in October 2022.