Trump Bolstered by Indictment?

A new poll seems to show that. Be skeptical.

Reporting on its own poll, YahooNews finds “Post-indictment poll: Trump surges to largest-ever lead over DeSantis.”

A new Yahoo News/YouGov poll — one of the first conducted after former President Donald Trump was indicted Thursday for his role in paying hush money to a porn star — shows Trump surging to his largest-ever lead over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, his likely 2024 GOP primary challenger, as Republican voters rally around the only president in U.S. history to face criminal charges.

In the previous Yahoo News/YouGov survey, which was conducted less than two weeks ago, Trump (47%) led DeSantis (39%) by eight percentage points in a head-to-head matchup among registered voters who are Republicans or Republican-leaning independents. As recently as February, it was DeSantis who was narrowly ahead of Trump, 45% to 41%.

But the new, post-indictment poll suddenly finds Trump lapping DeSantis by 26 percentage points — 57% to 31% — in a one-on-one contest. The former president even attracts majority support (52%, up from 44% previously) when pitted against a wider, 10-candidate field of declared and potential GOP challengers, while DeSantis plummets to 21% (down from 28%).

No one else cracks double digits.

By the same token, a full 54% of Republicans and Republican leaners would now prefer Trump to be the GOP’s 2024 presidential nominee rather than “someone else” (33%) — up from 51% Trump, 39% someone else last time.

The graphic of the trendline:

A Business Insider report (“Trump surges to a 26-point lead over Ron DeSantis in the 2024 GOP presidential primary post-indictment: poll“) on the same poll spins it this way:

Former President Donald Trump was already the front-runner among Republicans in the 2024 race for the White House, edging out a likely but yet-to-be-announced contender in Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida. 

But with his indictment by a Manhattan grand jury, Trump has surged ahead in a head-to-head matchup against DeSantis in a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll, beating the Sunshine State politician by 26 percentage points among registered Republican voters and Independents who lean Republican. 

In the poll, 57% of those asked said they would vote for Trump, while 31% indicated that they would back DeSantis, which was one of the first surveys to be conducted after Thursday’s indictment.


Even before the indictment was public, Trump was using his likely indictment as a fundraising tool as he has gone full-steam ahead in seeking to capture the Republican presidential nomination for the third time.

Trump’s current standing in the Yahoo News/YouGov survey is reflective of what many have said about a potential indictment galvanizing support among Republicans, who have overwhelmingly indicated that they feel as though the investigations into the former president are overtly political in nature.

We’ll see over time, of course, but I’m highly skeptical that the indictment will ultimately be helpful.

Looking inside the poll itself, we see that the sample was 1,089 “U.S. adults” and that it has a margin of error of +/-3.3%. But, of course, that’s only of the larger sample. But a third (33%) of those sampled were not even registered to vote. Overall just 25% (exactly!) of those sampled say they were likely to vote in the Democratic primary and 25% (exactly!) in the Republican primary in 2024. So, now we have a likely voter samples of roughly 544, split evenly among the two parties. The margins for error are now very high.

We see that 46% of Democratic-leaners prefer President Biden, 37% “Someone else,” and 17% aren’t sure. That compares to 54% of Republican-leaners who prefer Trump, 33% “Someone else,” and 13% not sure. But these numbers—quite oddly, considering that they polled on the likelihood of voting in the party primary—is of registered voters who could be convinced to express a party preference.


FILED UNDER: 2024 Election, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Kylopod says:

    I’ve been seeing a lot of know-it-all pieces over the past few days suggesting that the indictment can only help Trump in the primaries. I do think there’s some plausibility to the idea that it may cause a rallying effect with Republican voters. But a lot of commentators are making some very premature assumptions. We don’t know how the indictment itself will proceed–how long the trial (if there is one) will take. It could turn into background noise over the next year. These cases typically take years. It could, on the other hand, become very taxing for Trump, especially if it’s followed by more indictments in the other cases where he’s under investigation–the federal one, the one in Georgia. If by next year it looks like there’s a good chance he’s going to be convicted of something, the doubling-down strategy we’re currently seeing in the Republican world is probably going to start to crack, and he will start to lose support. Of course there’s a core of supporters who will never abandon him, but it’s not enough to propel him to the nomination (the fact that DeSantis has led polls in the past is evidence that it isn’t a majority in the party), and it will start to have an effect if his being indicted stops being some mere abstraction and actually begins affecting his campaign.

  2. EddieInCA says:

    I firmly believe that even if it’s revealed that Trump engaged in massive fraud that he will still be the nominee for the GOP. I believe this will motivate MAGA and MAGA adjacent voters. However, it will kill him with independents, even in states like GA, AZ, WI, MI, PA, and even Ohio.

  3. MarkedMan says:


    the Republican world is probably going to start to crack, and he will start to lose support

    You maybe right but I recall growing up in Chicago where corrupt Democratic pols regularly ran successful campaigns while under indictment. In one or two cases, they won from prison cells.

  4. Modulo Myself says:

    The indictment helps Trump and whatever actual evidence is released will help Trump, and if/when it’s obvious that he’s guilty that will help Trump. The entire GOP’s argument against Trump is predicated that his main failings happened because he was incompetent, not corrupt. The establishment will all be on their knees to show their outraged that anyone cares about corruption. Being on your knees is a great career move in the idiot sellout factory of the GOP establishment (where morons get promoted and are experts on, say, Gramsci while never having read a word of him) but it won’t win a primary.

  5. CSK says:


    Same with James Michael Curley in Boston.

  6. Modulo Myself says:


    Yes, Boston–the place where President of the State Senate’s brother was the city’s most notorious gangster.

  7. Sleeping Dog says:


    But that was in the era of political machines, where people were receiving patronage jobs and businesses could receive contracts and relief from onerous code enforcement. While it can happen in our age, see Marion Barry, it is far less likely.

    Can trump still get the nomination, maybe, but the odds have increased that he won’t. His chances in the general have decreased significantly. If trump is the nominee, the number of R’s that voted for him in 2020 because he was an R will stay home in 24.

  8. gVOR08 says:

    Trump’s whole appeal is us v them resentment. The whole strategy is base motivation. I don’t see how this doesn’t help Trump in the primaries.

    I’d rather run against Trump than DeUseless, but I’ll be biting nails for nineteen months.

  9. Kylopod says:

    @MarkedMan: @Sleeping Dog: As I’ve said before, it may be legally possible to run for president while in prison (Eugene Debs and Lyndon LaRouche did), though I’m not familiar with what the current laws say on the matter. (There is a theoretical possibility that a charge of sedition could get him barred from office, though I think this is unlikely to happen–and it certainly isn’t a factor in the New York case.) In practical terms, I have a hard time seeing how he could run a full, modern campaign while in prison. And while I have my doubts that’ll happen by 2024 (if ever), his being hit by multiple indictments and having to deal with the trial(s) over the next year will be–at the very least–taxing on his time. That’s without even getting into how it affects his poll numbers.

  10. Fog says:

    Forget Stormy. She’s small potatoes. Look to Fulton County. How that plays out will be far more interesting, especially when the Grabbed P***y tries to explain those perfect phone calls.

  11. steve says:

    This will energize the base, but they are permanently energized. They always have stuff (made up) to be angry about. Hard to believe a maybe slightly more energized base leads to more votes. For the non-base GOP (is there a name for those?) I think they still reflexively vote against a Dem. For me, its harder to read independents. I think if Trump wins or if the prosecution is caught in some major gaffe it could turn them his way. If he is found guilty and evidence is pretty solid it hurts him a bit.


  12. gVOR08 says:


    For the non-base GOP (is there a name for those?)

    The acid GOP. They’re different, but they’re still corrosive to democracy.

  13. Michael Reynolds says:

    Trump is not a politician, he’s a cult leader and the rules are different. Culties hold two contradictory positions: 1) Cult leader is God and 2) Cult leader is doomed because he’s just too perfect for this sinful world. It’s the Jesus paradigm: Almighty God, but with nails in his feet. So they’ve been ready for, expecting, indeed welcoming Cult Leader’s persecution by the Romans, er, Democrats.

    It’s almost enough to make you feel sorry for Donald. His cult secretly wants him martyred, and the non-MAGA rump of the party wants him to disappear.

  14. Liberal Democrat says:

    Well… I didn’t know that Not Sure was running, but if he is, he has my vote over those other two, no question, Especially not that Trumpo Camacho guy.

  15. Liberal Capitalist says:

    well… goes to show, you shouldn’t comment right after running… I mistyped my username and I’m in moderation.

  16. Stormy Dragon says:

    I’m not sure it can actually help Trump. Who was previously going to vote against Trump, but will now because of the indictment? It may certainly anger people who were already his supporters, but it’s not like they get more votes the angrier they are.

  17. Kylopod says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Who was previously going to vote against Trump, but will now because of the indictment?

    I think there are a certain amount of “soft” supporters in the party–people who like Trump but aren’t committed to voting for him, come hell or high water. If there weren’t, DeSantis would never have been leading any polls. Trump is popular in the party, but the Trump-or-die vote isn’t a majority.

  18. CSK says:

    Trump announced that he will be speaking Tuesday at Mar-a-Lago after his arraignment in Manhattan.

  19. charon says:


    Will there be a gag order? If so, does Trump comply? Can he comply, given how unfiltered mentally he is becoming?

  20. CSK says:


    It may be that he’s challenging them to issue a gag order.

  21. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: This is really gonna disappoint Luddite’s spouse. She was insisting that Trump will be in jail after he’s arraigned last night.

  22. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    It disappoints me, too. I suppose the judge could put him under house arrest at Trump Tower. But the city might not want the resultant traffic jams on Fifth Ave.

  23. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Yeah, but despite hanging around Luddite (and my employers over the years), and being a cop’s daughter, she displays this charming naivete, believing that L&O is reality tv. Just like Bachelor/Bachelorette.

    OTOH, she continues to feed us, so it’s not all bad.

  24. CSK says:

    According to The Guardian, Trump’s other lawyers think Joe Tacopina is a ” dumb loudmouth.”

    Also according to The Guardian, Trump is inquiring about selling t-shirts with his mugshot on them.

  25. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: I go a different direction. I wonder why he shouldn’t be released on bail or (preferably) recognisance just like I (or I assume you) would want to be if I were charged. But then I realize that involving Trump, the issue isn’t justice or process, it’s revenge and consign it all to being a comment on our society.