In the Courts

Democrats Thought Bragg Trial Would Sink Trump’s 2024 Campaign. Polling So Far Suggests Otherwise

While Democrats may have hoped that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s prosecution of former President Donald Trump would hurt his 2024 campaign, recent polling shows the proceedings have failed to seriously impact the president’s chances.

Trump will enter his fourth week of the New York trial on Monday, where he faces 34 felony counts related to allegedly falsifying business records when reimbursing a payment to pornstar Stormy Daniels in 2016. Several polls released since the start of jury selection on April 15 have found that a potential conviction won’t deter voters from supporting Trump in November. Moreover, individuals nationwide say they don’t believe the former president acted illegally or is being treated fairly in Bragg’s case.

“Millions of Americans are hopping mad at this kangaroo court, and it shows in this recent polling data,” Mark Weaver, a veteran Republican strategist, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “When dozens of partisan players – most of whom are coordinating with the Biden White House or the Biden Justice Department – use taxpayer dollars and precious court resources to try and defeat Trump long before the voters can decide, it makes people understandably angry.”

An Emerson College poll out April 30 showed that a majority of swing-state voters across Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania said that a potential conviction in the case wouldn’t deter them from backing Trump in 2024. A plurality of independent voters — a crucial voting bloc in general elections — said a conviction would have “no impact” on whether they support the former president.

A CNN/SSRS poll released on April 25 indicated that 76% of registered voters who back Trump say they’ll cast a ballot for him regardless of a conviction in Bragg’s case. The survey also showed that a majority of Americans aren’t confident that the Manhattan jury can reach a fair verdict at 56%.

An AP/NORC survey published on April 16 found that only 35% of Americans think Trump acted illegally in regard to the New York allegations. The poll also indicated that just 31% of respondents are “extremely” or “very confident” that Trump is being treated fairly by the prosecution.

Some Democrats appear optimistic about Trump’s trial potentially hurting his standing among voters ahead of November while in turn helping Biden’s.

“Trump lost the popular vote twice and has a lot of ground to make up from his 2020 loss,” Jim Messina, campaign manager for former President Barack Obama’s reelection bid, told The Hill. “It’s going to be hard to move any swing voters while there’s wall-to-wall coverage of Trump campaigning from a courtroom.”

Democratic strategist Katie Grant Drew echoed some of Messina’s sentiment, and told the outlet that the trial “will provide a stark contrast between the priorities of President Biden, who will be focused on getting work done for the American people, and Trump, who will be focused on his own personal legal travails.”

Republican National Committee spokesperson Rachel Lee slammed Democrats for “hanging their hopes on a show trial, while voters see it for what it is: a political witch hunt.”

“Meanwhile, soaring Bidenflation is hitting Americans hard and Biden still has not condemned the pro-Hamas mobs wreaking havoc on college campuses nationwide,” Lee told the DCNF in a statement. “It’s no wonder why Joe Biden is losing to Donald J. Trump in every battleground state.”

Additionally, an NPR/PBS/Marist poll conducted between April 22 and April 25 found that a majority of Americans aren’t following Trump’s New York trial at 55% compared to 45% who are.

Scott Jennings, a GOP strategist and veteran of numerous campaigns, believes that while Trump getting “convicted won’t be helpful, necessarily,” there’s “no doubt this case is the least serious.”

“A liberal prosecutor using a novel legal theory to pursue felony charges against the leader of the opposition party and keep him from campaigning? Pretty ridiculous, honestly,” Jennings told the DCNF. “Far more consequential things are happening in the world. Biden has lost control of everything. And Democrats are out here trying to convict Trump of failing to file the proper sex paperwork. Give me a break.”

The prosecution is seeking to convey that Trump’s actions related to an alleged $130,000 payment to former porn star actress Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about an alleged affair were part of a broader scheme to interfere with the 2016 election.

Trump has been restricted from being on the campaign trail for the last few weeks due the court’s proceedings, and was fined $9,000 by Judge Juan Merchan for repeatedly violating a gag order. The former president was able to hold two rallies in Wisconsin and Michigan on Wednesday while the court was in recess.

Trump is currently leading Biden by 1.5 points in the RealClearPolitics average — which is slightly up from his previous 0.3-point margin when the trial began. The former president is ahead anywhere from one to 5.4 points in the battleground states of Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

Kyle Kondik, nonpartisan polling analyst and managing editor for Sabato’s Crystal Ball, cautioned that the effects of the trial on the campaign will likely remain unknown until a verdict is reached.

“There’s very little indication that the trial has made any sort of impact on the electoral horse race,” Kondik told the DCNF. “We’ll have to wait for the verdict to see if there are any implications one way or the other – and, even then, it very well may not change anything.”

The Manhattan case is likely the only one Trump will have to go to trial for ahead of November, as the other three indictments over alleged mishandling of classified documents and alleged interference in the 2020 election have been delayed in court.

John McLaughlin, a Trump pollster and CEO of McLaughlin & Associates, told the DCNF that the former president’s “dignified defiance of the Biden prosecutions is making him a sympathetic figure.”

“The Biden campaign to prosecute and convict President Trump of a phony crime is backfiring. Biden will make Trump the Nelson Mandela of America,” McLaughlin said. “Joe Biden is corrupt and desperate and it shows.”

McLaughlin pointed the DCNF toward the latest national poll released on April 17 that shows 66% of voters believe the four indictments against Trump are politically motivated, as well as 53% who say Biden is trying to prevent the former president from winning another term by putting him in jail.

“They know if Biden can persecute President Trump, he could persecute any American,” McLaughlin added.

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Mary Lou Masters

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Mary Lou Masters

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