A majority of Americans think a criminal indictment should disqualify Trump for 2024

Donald Trump
Former U.S. President Donald Trump.Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
  • A new poll illustrates Trump's possible political peril if he faces criminal charges.

  • According to a Quinnipiac University poll, Americans would find charges to be disqualifying for a presidential run.

  • The findings come on the same day a Manhattan grand jury decided to take a lengthy break.

A majority of Americans think that if Donald Trump becomes the first former president ever to be indicted that such charges should disqualify him from returning to the White House, a new poll finds.

But the overall picture of Americans' opinions on a potential Trump indictment is far more nuanced. The better news for Trump is that while charges would pose a potentially major general election hurdle, his grip on the GOP is still holding.

According to a Quinnipiac University national poll released Wednesday, 57% of Americans think that criminal charges should disqualify Trump from running again. There is a major partisan split on the question. Three-fourths of Republicans view possible charges as not disqualifying, but 55% of self-described independents do view an indictment as disqualifying along with 88% of Democrats.

A Manhattan grand jury has continued to hear evidence as jurors weigh an indictment related to Trump's alleged hush money scheme to silence adult film actress Stormy Daniels. On Wednesday afternoon, a source familiar with the case told Insider that the grand jury will be taking a weekslong break.

The former president has denied that he had an affair with Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, and has repeatedly lashed out at Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. Trump is also facing investigations related to his improper storage of classified documents and his role in fomenting the January 6 Capitol riot.

Like any potential criminal defendant, Trump is considered innocent until proven guilty. Many legal scholars have also questioned the basis of Bragg's potential case. An indictment would in many ways signal the start of a much lengthier process than the end. Most importantly, the Constitution would not stop Trump's ongoing presidential campaign. Rather, any disqualification would be in the eyes of voters.

Needless to say, Quinnipiac's findings underline that an indictment could create major political headaches for Trump. It also illustrates why many top Republicans continue to embrace Trump amid his legal battles.

Trump has tried to paint Bragg's probe as politically motivated. Quinnipiac found that 62% of Americans agree that the New York investigation is "mainly motivated by politics" as compared to "mainly motivated by the law." Seventy percent of independents agreed that it was motivated by politics, compared to 93% of Republicans and 29% of Democrats.

Other polling has shown similar splits on the investigations.

An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist College Poll from earlier this week found that 56% of Americans think the investigations are fair. While 41% agreed that they were a "witch hunt." The same survey found that 46% of Americans say Trump's behavior has been illegal, 29% find it to be "unethical but not illegal," and only 23% say the former president has done nothing wrong at all.

Even Republicans agree that Trump did something wrong. An earlier Reuters/Ipsos poll found that 70% of Americans say it is believable that Trump paid off Daniels to not talk during the 2016 election, a subset that includes 50% of Republicans and 77% of independents.

The Quinnipiac poll of 1,788 U.S. adults nationwide was conducted from March 23rd - 27th. The sample includes 1,600 self-identified registered voters. The larger sample margin of error is +/- 2.5 percentage points. The smaller group of self-identified Republican and Republican-leaning voters has a margin of error of  +/- 3.8 percentage points. Methodologies for the other polls are linked to above.

Read the original article on Business Insider