Donald Trump’s polling drops, post-indictment: While there was speculation that getting arrested and indicted would help Donald Trump politically, new polling says that his approval has dropped considerably recently.
Donald Trump: More Drama? Yes
In recent weeks, especially as it was made clear that former President Donald Trump would probably be indicted in New York in a case related to the Stormy Daniels hush money payments, new conventional wisdom has emerged that getting indicted would help Trump politically. This has been argued by both supporters and opponents of the former president.
More than a week after Trump’s arrest, it appears that particular narrative is crashing into reality.
According to a new ABC News/Ipsos poll released this week, more than half of Americans (53 percent) “believe that Trump intentionally did something illegal in this case,” about the New York case specifically. The number of those who believe Trump “did nothing wrong” is just 20 percent.
Furthermore, the report found that “independents and people who were undecided on this issue last week look to be moving away from the former president by small margins.”
Half of Americans, meanwhile, say that the ex-president “should have been charged with a crime in this case,” an increase of five percentage points from prior to the announcement of the charges.
And of a case widely described as the weakest of the many criminal probes faced by Trump, half of Americans surveyed “view the charges as serious.”
When asked if the charges are “serious,” 87 percent of Democrats say yes, compared to 29 percent of Republicans. With Donald Trump about to enter a competitive presidential primary, 29 percent of Republicans feel that way could be significant.
Looking at the Case
A week ago, Trump was charged in a 34-count indictment by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, alleging that he falsified corporate records in furtherance of paying hush money to adult film performer Stormy Daniels. Donald Trump, who became the first former president of the United States to be indicted for a crime, pled not guilty to all of the charges and is not due back in court until December.
“From August 2015 to December 2017, the Defendant orchestrated a scheme with others to influence the 2016 presidential election by identifying and purchasing negative information about him to suppress its publication and benefit the Defendant’s electoral prospects,” the indictment said. “In order to execute the unlawful scheme, the participants violated election laws and made and caused false entries in the business records of various entities in New York.”
Trump Heads Back to NYC
However, Trump is due back in New York this week for a deposition related to the New York Attorney General’s civil lawsuit against him. And Trump is also scheduled to soon be part of another legal proceeding in New York: A trial resulting from the civil lawsuit from E. Jean Carroll, the writer who came forward a few years ago with a claim that Trump had raped her in 1996. Trump has denied this claim.
This week, a judge asked for clarity on whether Trump plans to attend that trial in person. On Wednesday, Trump’s attorneys asked to delay the start of the Carroll trial for one month to allow for a “cooling off” period after the Manhattan DA’s indictment.
“To be sure, President Trump is a persistent subject of media coverage. But the present situation is unique because, as stated above, the recent coverage pertains to alleged sexual misconduct, the same issue at the heart of this litigation,” Trump attorney Joe Tacopina wrote in a letter to the judge in the Carroll case, as obtained by CNN.
A lot of things about Trump’s political career are unprecedented. Still, we can certainly add “candidate’s attorney moves to delay candidate’s rape trial, on account of the same candidate’s 34-count criminal indictment, while candidate also faces three other high-level criminal probes at the same time” to that list.
Expertise and Experience
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.