Trump still leads GOP polls in Iowa, but some voters grow weary

Trump still leads GOP polls in Iowa, but some voters grow weary
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Former President Donald Trump's latest indictment on Monday fell right in the middle of an important political event: the Iowa State Fair. It's a tradition for presidential candidates to visit the fair and talk to voters ahead of Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucuses.

Trump attended the state fair on Saturday, drawing thousands of supporters.

"The fair is huge and it's a really great opportunity for the presidential candidates to come out and really test the waters," said Iowa's junior GOP Sen. Joni Ernst. 

Polls show Trump maintains a significant lead in Iowa — a stronghold of Republican support — even as the former president has now been indicted in four separate criminal cases. More widely, there's no evidence that the indictments have hurt his status as the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

At the fair, some Iowans expressed sympathy for the former president, portraying him as a victim of too many investigations, while others believe the legal challenges have left him wounded and distracted — and that it may be time to move on.

Some voters CBS News spoke to say they still like Trump but less than they used to.

"I feel uncomfortable with him at the podium, very much," said Bob Erickson from Webster City, Iowa. "But we still have to keep a little bit of him, not all of him."

Other voters are looking to other candidates. Norm and Pat Hejlmland are leaning toward Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

"I think we need somebody new, and I want somebody that can win, of course," said Norm Hejlmland.

Pat Hejlmland has soured on the former president.

"What he accomplished was good. But his personality just turns me off, plain and simple," she said.

Scott Heilskov, who voted for Trump twice and is now leaning toward Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, said he doesn't like the way Trump "smashes the other candidates."

"He's putting down the other political candidates in the Republican Party and I've had enough of it myself," said Heilskov.

Even so, Trump remains the heavy favorite five months before the Iowa caucuses — and reaction from Republican leaders to Trump's latest indictment showed what a hot wire it is to cross him and his supporters.

Sen. Scott, who has been making strides in Iowa, cautiously told CBS News he believes the "legal system is being weaponized against political opponents."

But others, like former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, didn't hold back, calling the charges brought against Trump "serious."

"They address fundamental issues of our democracy. And so he ought to be held accountable," he said while campaigning at the fair.

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