While Donald Trump is still dominating the 2024 Republican primary in national polls, signs of trouble are starting to emerge as his legal peril mounts.
An NPR/PBS/Marist poll released Friday found a 9-point drop since last month among Republicans and GOP-leaning independents who say Trump has done “nothing wrong,” from 50% to 41%.
Trump also lost support from the Republican cohort, with 58% now saying they are likely to back Trump in the primary, down 6 points from 64% last month.
The survey was in the field from July 24 – 27, before Thursday afternoon’s announcement of a superseding indictment in the classified documents case added more heft to Trump’s criminal count haul.
Normally, a stand-alone poll finding notable swings from one month to the next is cause for caution. But in this case, the NPR/PBS/Marist poll isn’t a singular outlier.
The July Daily Kos/Civiqs poll fielded last week also showed flagging enthusiasm for Trump. The survey found that if Trump was the Republican nominee, 31% of the electorate said they would “definitely” vote for him in the general election—an 8-point drop from a month earlier, when 39% of voters said they would “definitely” vote Trump in 2024.
Between June and July, some of Trump’s “definite” voters appear to have downgraded themselves to “probably” vote for him, while his “vote for someone else” category rose 3 points, from 50% to 53%.
|Definitely vote for him||39%||31%||-8|
|Probably vote for him||6%||10%||+4|
|Probably vote someone else||3%||3%||0|
|Definitely vote someone else||50%||53%||+3|
It’s not a wholesale collapse, but it could be an opening for one of Trump’s Republican rivals. The problem, of course, is that none of them have proven capable of consolidating the not-Trump vote (anti-Trumpers plus pro-Trumpers looking for an alternative).
As Sarah Longwell, host of The Focus Group podcast and executive director of the Republican Accountability Project, told the New York Times this week, “The No. 1 reason Trump is dominating right now is because of lack of political talent from the people who are challenging him.”
That is a perfect explanation of why Trump’s support could be softening even as he remains top dog in the 2024 GOP field. If that is indeed true and Trump still manages to limp across the finish line in first place next year, he will be an even weaker general election candidate than initially anticipated.
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