If President Joe Biden’s Justice Department truly seeks to damage former President Donald Trump with investigations and indictments, it is not working.
The latest NBC News poll finds Trump has expanded his lead on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the rest of the primary field to 29 points, nearly doubling his lead from April (15 points).
A 51% majority of Republican primary voters nationwide now pick Trump over DeSantis (22%), former Vice President Mike Pence (7%), former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (5%), with no other candidate getting more than 4%, according to the poll.
“For the first time in history, a former president has been indicted, and we can’t find a marker in this survey that it’s had an impact with his standing,” Republican pollster Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies told NBC News.
Trump’s support “is a strong starting number,” McInturff added. “Something has to happen to shift this race.”
A 37-count federal indictment is not it. Trump was at 46% to DeSantis’ 31% in April, which was conducted shortly after Trump’s Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg indictment.
“Not only are they sticking with Trump post-federal indictment, there are several signs that his support is growing or others are losing ground, particularly Ron DeSantis,” Democrat pollster Jeff Horwitt of Hart Research Associates said of Republican voters.
Republican strategists have long noted a full field of challengers to Trump would merely split the share of the anti-Trump vote, while Trump holds a rock-solid base.
There is some of that found in this NBC poll, as the two-candidate Trump versus DeSantis race shows Trump picking up 9 points (60% support) and DeSantis gaining 14 points (36%) when the rest of the field is removed.
That 5-point boost is not enough to break Trump’s hold on the Republican Party, although this is a nationwide poll and not a state-by-state primary delegate breakdown.
There are 64% of Republican voters who see the indictments and investigations of Trump as politically motivated, even if half of the party’s voters are ready to consider a candidate other than Trump, according to the poll.
In a head-to-head hypothetical general election matchup, NBC News’ poll gives Biden (49%) a 4-point edge over Trump (45%), which is just outside the margin of error.
“Looking back at 2020, the election was a referendum on Donald Trump,” Horwitt, the Democrat pollster, told NBC News. “And if we have a Biden-Trump rematch, there are powerful signs that the focus will once again be more on Trump than Biden.”
The NBC News poll was conducted June 16-20 among 1,000 registered voters and has an overall margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. There were 500 Republican primary voters polled with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.38 percentage points.
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