Even as legal troubles continue to mount against former President Donald Trump, most Republican voters continue to feel Trump would be their party’s strongest nominee in 2024, with very few seeing his legal woes as being of any real concern.
In fact, the latest Monmouth University poll finds most Republican voters are unaffected by last month’s indictments. Moreover, many Republicans want the next president to be someone outside the political establishment, and Trump is viewed as the epitome of a political outsider.
Those polled were also asked who they prefer as the Republican nominee for president in 2024. Without any prompting of current candidates, 48% of GOP-aligned and -leaning voters named Trump, 15% named Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and 18% named another person.
Trump’s support has remained stable as he faces mounting legal troubles, and he is viewed as the strongest candidate the GOP can nominate to take on President Joe Biden in 2024.
After the former president had been charged with business-related crimes in New York and the mishandling of government documents in Florida, only 27% of Republican voters expressed at least some concern that these indictments would make him a weaker candidate against Biden in the general election. Now that he has also been charged with attempting to overturn the 2020 election in both federal and state cases, the number who are concerned about the impact of these indictments is virtually the same at 25% (11% very concerned and 14% somewhat concerned).
The total number who saw Trump as the party’s strongest option climbed steadily from 63% in May after the New York indictment, to 69% in July after the Florida indictment and to 72% in the current poll.
“The unwavering support for Trump as criminal charges pile up looks like a classic case of what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger in the eyes of most Republican voters,” Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, said.
Backing Trump seems to be synonymous with supporting the party’s “MAGA” movement. Among strong “Make America great again” supporters — who make up about one-third of the Republican electorate — 74% name Trump off the top of their heads as their favored pick for the GOP nomination, with DeSantis coming in a distant second place (11%) and 9% not naming any preferred candidate.
“There is no lack of certainty among MAGA stalwarts. Trump is their guy. They don’t even need to consider any other options in the field. On the flip side of that coin, non-MAGA Republicans seem much less inspired by the options available to them,” Murray said.
Nearly half of the GOP electorate said it is either extremely (26%) or very (21%) important for the next president to be someone from outside the political establishment. Just 22% said this is not important to them.
“A former president is seen as the ultimate political outsider. Let that sink in,” Murray said.
The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone and online from Sept. 19 to 24 with 514 Republican and Republican-leaning voters in the U.S.