More than three-quarters of Republican voters are concerned that the indictment of former President Donald Trump for is politically motivated, according to a new poll.
The CBS News/YouGov survey found 76% of likely GOP primary voters said they were more worried that the indictment was political, while just 12% said they were more concerned that the documents Trump, 76, allegedly retained posed a national security risk.
Another 12% said they feared both that the indictment was politically motivated and that the documents — which allegedly contained nuclear information and military plans — also presented a national security risk.
Four out of five likely Republican primary voters said they thought Trump should still be able to be president if he is convicted in the documents case, while just 20% view a conviction as disqualifying him from holding office.
Meanwhile, 80% of Americans said it would be a national security risk if Trump did hold onto the classified documents — but just 38% of likely Republican primary voters agreed.
Special counsel Jack Smith led the prosecutorial team that indicted the former president last week on 37 counts of improperly retaining national defense material, conspiracy to obstruct justice, concealing documents and making false statements.
Three-quarters of Republican primary voters said the indictment either would not change their view of Trump (61%) or improve their opinion of him (14%). Just 7% said the indictment might change their opinion of Trump for the worse.
Trump leads the GOP primary field with the support of 61% of likely voters, followed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at 23% support.
Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) comes in third place with 4% support, with former Vice President Mike Pence also at 4% and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley at 3%.
Three-quarters of Republican primary voters also said they were considering backing the 45th president for the nomination, while just over half (51%) said they were considering DeSantis. No other candidate won the consideration of more than a fifth of primary voters, with Scott (21%) followed by Pence (16%) and Haley (15%)
Biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy was being considered by 13% of GOP voters, followed by conservative radio host Larry Elder (9%), former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (7%), former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (6%) and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (4%).
Christie and Burgum are newcomers to the 2024 primary race, having launched their campaigns last week, before the Trump indictment dropped. Christie called Trump’s indictment “devastating,” and Hutchinson said the former president should drop out of the race and that the Republican Party should pledge to not support a candidate “found guilty of espionage or a serious felony.”
Other candidates have expressed that the charges are largely politically motivated, including Pence, a former Trump ally, who called the indictment “troubling.”
Among those Republicans who don’t identify as supporters of Trump’s Make America Great Again movement, 80% of Republicans want a president who can find common ground with Democrats, while 56% of MAGA backers say the same.
However, 74% of the GOP electorate want a candidate similar to Trump, while 35% of self-identified MAGA voters want their president to investigate and punish the opposing party, according to the poll.
GOP primary voters say it is very important for a candidate to have a plan for inflation (90%), lowering taxes (78%), supporting federal abortion restrictions (29%) and limiting transgender rights (26%).
That insight tracks with those voters who have a favorable view of Trump, as 96% say they want the candidate to discuss his plans for the country rather than ongoing investigations into his conduct (39%) or the fallout of the 2020 election (32%).
Views of President Biden’s bid for re-election split along party lines, with 58% of Democrats supporting their party’s incumbent and 86% of Republicans opposing him.
Additionally, 42% of Democrats do not support Biden running in 2024, saying they are concerned about his ability to complete a second term (45% of cohort), his performance during his first term (31%) and his chances of losing the race (20%).
Three-quarters of independents do not favor the 80-year-old’s campaign, while 25% are in favor of his re-election.
A plurality of US voters (48%) say the job of the presidency would be too demanding for anyone over 75, while 15% say it is not too demanding and 37% say it depends.
The CBS/YouGov poll surveyed 2,480 US adults between June 7 and 10, of whom 1,798 respondents were contacted again to share their opinion about the federal criminal indictment against Trump on June 9 and 10.
The overall margin of error for US respondents was plus or minus 2.7 percentage points, which increased to 5.5 percentage points among GOP primary voters and 3.3 percentage points among those who were recontacted for comment about the Trump indictment.