OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
If the objective of President Joe Biden and Democratic district attorneys in Manhattan and Fulton County, Ga., was to make former President Donald Trump unpopular and unelectable with their multiple indictments, they have failed miserably.
In fact, according to a new Wall Street Journal survey, the indictments have had the opposite effect. The poll, conducted Aug. 24 to Aug. 30 and published Sept. 2, found that 59 percent of GOP primary voters say he is their top choice.
“The new survey finds that what was once a two-man race for the nomination has collapsed into a lopsided contest,” with Trump surging to a commanding lead, the outlet noted, citing its poll.
The outlet conducted a similar survey in April. The new poll found that Trump has nearly doubled his lead over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the months since, climbing 11 points. The difference between the two candidates now is 46 points, The Epoch Times reported, citing the results.
The WSJ noted further:
The poll highlights one of the remarkable features of the 2024 primary race: Criminal prosecutions that in past eras might have sunk a candidate have only strengthened the leading contender. Two of Trump’s indictments involve his efforts to remain in power after his 2020 loss, which included repeated false claims of widespread election irregularities.
Asked about the indictments of Trump, more than 60% of Republican primary voters said each was politically motivated and without merit. Some 78% said Trump’s actions after the 2020 election were legitimate efforts to ensure an accurate vote, while 16% said Trump had illegally tried to block Congress from certifying an election he had lost. About half, or 48%, said the indictments made them more likely to vote for Trump in 2024, while 16% said they made them less likely to support him for a second term.
The poll also indicated that in a hypothetical rematch of the 2020 election, President Trump and President Biden are nearly tied among overall voters, with minimal interest in two third-party contenders. Trump garnered 40 percent support, while Biden received 39 percent, and the combined support for potential Green Party and Libertarian candidates stood at 3 percent. A notable 17 percent of respondents remained undecided, the outlet reported.
In a head-to-head matchup without any other candidates to consider, Biden and Trump tied with 46 percent each, with 8 percent undecided.
Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio, who conducted the survey with Democratic pollster Michael Bocian, said he was stunned that a potential rematch between the current and preceding president was so close, with the latter facing so many indictments.
“When we talk about how twisted and bent reality has become, that’s a really good example of it, because if, in fact, this were any other time and place, this race would not be happening this way,” Fabrizio, who also is involved with a super PAC that is supporting Trump’s candidacy, told the WSJ.
The outlet also noted: “Republicans nationally are rejecting the candidates who most sharply criticize Trump: Former Govs. Chris Christie of New Jersey and Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas drew 3% and 1% support, respectively. Christie is the most unpopular GOP candidate tested, with 73% holding an unfavorable view of him.”
“DeSantis collapsed,” noted Bocian. “The one candidate who back in April really seemed to be a potential contender, seemed to have a narrative to tell, has totally collapsed, and those votes went to Trump.”
However, the WSJ noted, “DeSantis has the resources for the long haul, including a super PAC with $85 million. His aides say voters won’t really begin focusing on their choices until the weather starts turning cold in places such as Iowa and New Hampshire, where the first nominating contests will be held.”
The outlet added: “There is some truth to that. At this point in 2015, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, the winner of the 2016 Iowa caucuses, was at just 8% in the most closely watched poll in the state. Trump was at 23%.”