Trump Indictment: 3 Key Political Takeaways
The polls paint a complicated picture of how voters are internalizing the former President's mounting legal problems
Donald Trump and 18 of his associates were just indicted in Fulton County, Georgia on 41 counts, including racketeering, for trying to overturn the election in Georgia. This is the fourth indictment in as many months; and the most significant legally. Because it’s not a federal case, Trump cannot pardon himself. Here’s how the New York Times described the case against Trump and his allies:
The indictment bundles together several efforts by Mr. Trump and his allies to reverse the election results in Georgia. None of the 19 defendants is accused of taking part in all of those different schemes, but under the RICO law, prosecutors have to prove only that each one broke state laws as part of a continuing criminal enterprise with the same overarching goal.
So what does it all mean?
Politically, the picture is more complicated — as it was with the other three indictments. Our dystopian hellscape of a media ecosystem is at its worst when we want to understand an issue with context and nuance. Therefore, it is time I take a step back and assess the polling that has come in since the third indictment to offer some thoughts on the political landscape. Before I do that, I encourage everyone to read this piece from Michael Podhorzer about some of the problems with media polling. Michael is a long-time Democratic strategist with an expert-level understanding of polling, data, and analytics.
With Michael’s cautionary note in mind, here are some trends I see in the polling about the political impact of Trump’s massive mound of legal problems and how they apply to this latest indictment.
1. Latest Indictment Will Worsen Trump’s Problems
Of the cases against Trump, the public views his efforts to overturn the election as the most serious.
A YouGov poll found that 48% of Americans think “4 charges, including for efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election and to obstruct the certification of the electoral vote” are very serious. 44% feel that way about the “40 charges, including for unauthorized possession of classified documents and obstructing government efforts to retrieve them.” Only 27% describe the “34 charges, including for falsifying business records to reimburse his lawyer for payments made to an adult film actress” as very serious.
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