Nearly a quarter of Trump voters say he should not be nominated if convicted


Nearly a quarter of former President Donald J. Trump's own supporters believe he should not be the Republican Party's presidential nominee next year if he is convicted of a crime, according to a New York Times/Siena College poll.

Trump continues to enjoy a huge lead among Republican candidates vying for the party's presidential nomination, and has used the prosecutions he faces to present himself as a target of political persecution by Democrats and President Biden. But the poll suggests that a not insignificant minority of those who would otherwise want him to top the Republican ticket in November could change their minds if he were found guilty in any of the four criminal cases he faces, even if he has won the primary contest.

Another 20 percent of those who identified themselves as Trump supporters went so far as to say that he should go to prison if convicted in the federal case in Washington in which he is accused of conspiring to overturn the 2020 election. And on the 23rd percent of his supporters said they believe he has committed “serious federal crimes,” up from 11 percent in July.

The poll was conducted before the Colorado Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that Trump should be disqualified from the Republican primary in that state. The court ruled that Trump was ineligible under the 14th Amendment, which disqualifies anyone who participated in an insurrection from holding office.

The survey findings underscore the importance to Trump of the strategy he and his lawyers are pursuing to delay his trials, especially the federal election interference case in Washington.

That case, scheduled to begin in early March, has long been considered the first of the four to go before a jury, although Trump has also sought to postpone the other trials.

They include a federal case in Florida accusing him of illegally retaining classified documents after leaving office, another in Manhattan stemming from hush payments made to a porn star in the run-up to the 2016 election, and one in Georgia where Mr. Trump has been charged with conspiracy to extort and disrupt that state's elections.

Trump has repeatedly described the cases, including those brought against him by state prosecutors, as political “witch hunts” designed solely to impede his candidacy. The Times poll found that 84 percent of Trump supporters (and 46 percent of all registered voters surveyed) believe the various charges he faces are “mostly politically motivated.”

Trump has a long history of using delaying tactics in civil litigation he has faced. But criminal cases are different, as Trump and some of his advisers have been blunt in private conversations that he would have the Justice Department simply drop the cases against him if he were re-elected.

Some of those advisers believe that under the Constitution, it would be virtually impossible for state cases to proceed against him while he was a sitting president, although he would have no authority over local prosecutors' offices.

Postponing trials until after the election would also have another effect: It would prevent voters from hearing the extensive evidence against Trump that prosecutors have collected before going to the polls.

If the particular election interference case were postponed until after the race was decided, it would mean that millions of Americans would never hear the details of Trump's attempts to derail the results of the last election before considering him again for office in 2024. . .

When asked in a previous poll about Trump's actions to try to stay in power after the 2020 election, 51 percent of swing state voters, including 13 percent of Trump's own supporters, , they said that it had even threatened democracy. In the same poll, most Trump supporters in battleground states said they would continue to support Trump if he were convicted, but about 6 percent said they would switch their votes to Biden, potentially enough to swing the elections. elections.

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