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25 Jun, 2023 18:26

Trump’s 2024 lead widens after latest indictment

The former US president has pulled further ahead of his Republican rivals since being charged by the Department of Justice
Trump’s 2024 lead widens after latest indictment

Donald Trump’s lead over his nearest Republican opponent for the party’s 2024 presidential nomination has nearly doubled since the former US president was indicted on federal charges earlier this month, a new poll has shown.     

The NBC News survey, released on Sunday, shows that Trump is the first choice for 51% of Republican primary voters, compared with 22% for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and 7% for former vice president Mike Pence. Trump’s 29-point lead over DeSantis compares with a 15-point margin when the same poll was done in April.

Pollsters began the latest survey on June 16, a week after the ex-president was charged with 37 felonies by a US Department of Justice (DOJ) special prosecutor over his alleged mishandling of classified documents. Trump has tried to turn the case to his political advantage, just as he did after a New York City prosecutor charged him in April for allegedly falsifying business records.

“Every time the radical-left Democrats, Marxists, communists and fascists indict me, I consider it a great badge of courage,” Trump told supporters on Saturday at a Christian voter conference in Washington. “I’m being indicted for you, and I believe the ‘you’ is more than 200 million people that love our country.”

A Harvard CAPS-Harris poll released earlier this month showed that Trump leads incumbent President Joe Biden by a margin of 45% to 39% in a hypothetical 2024 rematch of their 2020 race. An Emerson College poll released on Thursday found that a third-party candidate, such as philosopher and activist Cornel West, would draw support away from Biden, giving Trump an advantage.

Results of the NBC News survey suggest that the federal indictment has made Trump even more politically polarizing. While 21% of respondents said they have a “very positive” view of him, up from 17% in April, 49% gave a “very negative” assessment, up from 44% previously.

Just 20% of US voters believe the nation is on the “right track” under Biden, down from 23% in January. At the same point in Trump’s presidency, the number was 33%. Just 18% of voters have a “very positive” view of Biden, down from 29% in the early days of his presidency, the poll showed.

The current and former vice presidents, Kamala Harris and Mike Pence, have even lower favorability ratings. Only 11% of voters have a “very positive” view of Harris, while Pence’s rate is even worse, at 3%. DeSantis went from a 19% “very positive” rate in September 2022 to 14% this month.

Voters also give low marks to the DOJ, with 14% rating the department very positively, down from 18% in the most recent reading before Trump’s indictment.