Nearly half of Americans agree with the federal charges against Trump in a new ABC News/Ipsos poll, and that with two-thirds of Republican voters saying Trump should not have been indicted.
A plurality of Americans think that former President Donald Trump should have been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges related to his handling of classified documents, yet a near equal number say the charges are politically motivated, according to a new ABC News/Ipsos poll.
Trump willfully retained documents containing the nation's most sensitive intelligence after he left office, exhibited some of them on at least two occasions and then tried to obstruct the investigation into their whereabouts, prosecutors allege in the indictment. Trump has repeatedly denied any allegations of wrongdoing.
Nearly half -- 48% -- of Americans think Trump should have been charged in this case, whereas 35% think he should not have been and 17% saying they do not know, per the ABC News/Ipsos poll conducted using Ipsos' KnowledgePanel.
Not surprisingly, an overwhelming majority (86%) of self-identified Democrats believe the former president should have been charged. On the other hand, Republicans remain mostly loyal to Trump, with two in three (67%) saying the former president and current frontrunner for the Republican nomination should not have been charged. Independents are more divided, with 45% believing he should have been charged, a third saying he should not have been, and 22% saying they don't know.
Overall, a solid majority of over three in five Americans find the charges either very (42%) or somewhat serious (19%), while only 28% of the public say it's not too serious or not serious at all. One in ten say they don't know. And party splits are expectedly polarized, with about nine in 10 Democrats saying the charges are very or somewhat serious while half of Republicans find them to be not too serious or not serious at all. A majority of independents (63%) find the charges very or somewhat serious, while 38% say they are not too serious or not serious at all.
The ABC News/Ipsos survey was in the field Friday and Saturday after Trump was indicted and as a plethora of details continued to emerge.
Some 46% of Americans in the poll think Trump should suspend his campaign, while 47% say that the charges against Trump are politically motivated.
Donald Trump vowed Saturday to continue running for president even if he were to be convicted as part of the 37-count federal felony indictment that was issued against him this week.
“I’ll never leave,” Trump said in an interview aboard his plane. “Look, if I would have left, I would have left prior to the original race in 2016. That was a rough one. In theory that was not doable.”
Trump is not legally prohibited from running for president from prison or as a convicted felon. But such a bid would nevertheless provide a massive stress test for the country’s political and legal systems.
The former president leveled harsh criticisms at special counsel Jack Smith and argued that the case against him was politically motivated and flimsy. “These are thugs and degenerates who are after me,” he said.
Trump predicted he would not be convicted and said he did not anticipate taking a plea deal, though he left open the possibility of doing so “where they pay me some damages.”
He sidestepped the possibility that he would pardon himself should he win the presidency in 2024. “I don’t think I’ll ever have to,” Trump said. “I didn’t do anything wrong.”
While Trump said campaign fundraising had skyrocketed since the indictment was issued, he conceded it was an unwelcome development.
“Nobody wants to be indicted,” said Trump. “I don’t care that my poll numbers went up by a lot. I don’t want to be indicted. I’ve never been indicted. I went through my whole life, now I get indicted every two months. It’s been political.”
As I said yesterday, unless the 11th Circuit gets serious and gives the case to another, Judge Aileen Cannon is going to delay the trial for months, if not years. If the plan was to try Trump quickly and knock him out of the race, that's 100% not going to happen.
The notion that Trump will be tried and convicted before November 2024 remains a long shot.