How Concerned Are GOP Voters That Charges Against Trump Could Hurt His 2024 Chances?

During his campaign for president in 2016, Donald Trump jokingly said at a campaign rally that he could “stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”

The point, of course, was that his supporters are loyal and nothing he did would change that. Fast forward to 2023 and the slew of federal and state charges he’s facing, and it looks like not much has changed.  

According to the findings of a recent CNN survey, a majority of Republican voters, 56 percent, say they are “not seriously concerned” that the 91 charges he’s facing in four indictments will negatively impact his 2024 chances, while less than half, 44 percent, are worried. 

Broadly speaking, Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say that, if true, the charges Trump faces across four criminal cases are not relevant to his fitness for the presidency (70% say so regarding the charges related to hush money payments to an adult film actress, and 64% each say the same about charges related to classified documents, efforts to overturn the 2020 election, and related to his role in January 6.)

And most, 61%, say that Trump faces so many criminal charges largely because of political abuse of the justice system (14% feel his situation is largely due to his own actions, while 25% say it’s hard to tell before trials are held).

Among the public more broadly, however, about half say that the January 6-related charges (51%) and the charges related to efforts to overturn the 2020 election (48%) should disqualify Trump from the presidency if true. A similar 47% feel that Trump faces so many charges largely as a result of his own actions, while just 31% see the number of charges as due primarily to political abuse of the justice system.

When asked to name their biggest concern about Trump as a candidate, Republican-aligned voters largely do not cite his legal woes. Just 6% name the indictments he’s facing or his legal situation, and 3% mention worry that he could be convicted or imprisoned. Overall, 18% say they have no concerns about Trump as a candidate or offer a positive comment about him. After that, 8% say their biggest worry is that his opponents will attack him or not work with him, 8% that they are concerned about “his mouth,” tact and abrasiveness, 7% that he’s too disliked and treated unfairly, and 6% name his ego or arrogance. (CNN)

At a recent GOP dinner in Alabama last month, Trump quipped that he was just “one more indictment” away from closing out the election. 

“Any time they file an indictment, we go way up in the polls,” Trump said.

According to RealClearPolitics’ average of national surveys, Trump dominates the GOP field of presidential candidates with a more than 38 percentage point lead over his rivals. 

Whether his support among Republicans translates into a general election victory remains to be seen, however. A majority of Americans, 53 percent, said in a recent Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey that they will definitely not support the 45th president if he becomes the GOP nominee next year. Another poll found half the country (including 51 percent of independents) believe Trump should go to prison if he’s convicted in the Jan. 6 case. 

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