Trump’s Support Among Republicans Increased After Criminal Indictments: Poll

It happened first after the August 2022 Mar-a-Lago FBI raid, and second after his 34-count hush-money indictment in New York in April. And now we know that it happened yet again after his 37-count federal indictment in early June on criminal charges of mishandling classified documents: Donald Trump’s poll numbers got a bump.

At least that’s according to a new NBC poll of 1,000 registered voters released Sunday. 51% of the poll’s respondents said they’d vote for Trump in a Republican primary ballot—a five point increase from April. Trump had bragged as much at a Georgia GOP convention speech directly following the indictment: “I mean, the only good thing about it is, it’s driven my poll numbers way up,” he said. Though that assessment was premature, it was arguably spot on.

Trump now leads Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, currently his chief Republican rival, by 29 points, a near doubling of his lead in NBC’s April poll. DeSantis’s worsening numbers are one of the poll’s other major findings: 46% of all voters rated the Florida governor either “somewhat” (9%) or “very” (37%) negative, an increase of twenty points over the last year. In a head-to-head primary matchup, Trump would beat DeSantis by 24 points, according to the poll.

No other Republican primary candidate broke into double digits. Former vice president Mike Pence came in third with 7%, and former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who has made Trump-bashing the centerpiece of his campaign, rounded out the top four with just 5%.

Asked specifically whether Trump’s federal indictment gave them any concerns, a whopping 77% of Republican primary voters said it gave them either minor concerns (14%) or no concerns at all (63%). Compare that with more than half of all registered voters who said the indictment gave them concerns.

The poll did reveal a near 50-50 split among Republicans on the question of whether Trump should remain the party’s standard-bearer. 21% of primary voters, a majority of whom selected DeSantis as their first choice, agreed that Trump “was a good president, but it is time to consider other leaders.” An additional 29% agreed that the GOP needs a “new leader with better personal behavior and a different approach.” That latter group’s support was spread across DeSantis, Pence, Christie, and other worse-polling candidates. Still, Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who helped conduct the survey, told NBC News that Trump posting 49% in response to this question “is a strong starting number” in a crowded primary field.

The poll was also the first in the 2024 presidential cycle to directly pit President Joe Biden against Republican rivals. In a hypothetical Trump-Biden rematch, the current president won by four points, which was within the poll’s margin of error. A hypothetical Biden-DeSantis contest showed the two in a dead heat.

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