The indictment of former United States President Donald Trump has been approved by 60% of Americans, according to a recent CNN Poll conducted by SSRS. This comes after a New York grand jury voted to charge him in connection with hush money payments made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. Approximately three-quarters of Americans believe that politics played a role in the decision to indict Trump, with 52% stating that it played a major role.
The majority of Independents, at 62%, are in favour of the indictment while 38% are not in favour. Democrats are almost unanimous in their approval of the indictment, with 94% in favour, including 71% who strongly support it. On the other hand, Republicans are less united in their opposition to the indictment, with 79% against it, of which 54% strongly disapprove.
Although there is a divide in opinion based on political affiliation, the poll indicates that across major demographic categories, majorities approve of the decision to indict former President Donald Trump. This includes gender, with 62% of women and 58% of men in favour, as well as different racial and ethnic groups, with 82% of Black adults, 71% of Hispanic adults, and 51% of White adults in support. The results also show that approval rates are high across generational lines, with 69% of those under age 35, 62% of those aged 35-49, 53% of those aged 50-64, and 54% of those aged 65 or older approving of the indictment. Educational levels are also a factor, with 68% of those with college degrees and 56% of those with some college or less in favour of the indictment.
Media reports indicate that former President Trump, is facing more than 30 counts of business fraud, but the charges are not publicly known and the indictment is currently under seal. At the time the survey was conducted, the charges related to the investigation were not known to the public. The investigation centres around a payment of $130,000 made by Trump's former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, to adult film actress Stormy Daniels in October 2016, shortly before the 2016 presidential election. The payment was intended to prevent Daniels from publicly speaking about her alleged affair with Trump, which the former president has denied. The investigation focuses on the payment made to Daniels and whether the Trump Organization reimbursed Cohen for the payment.
Only a small minority of 10% of Americans overall believe that former President Donald Trump was blameless regarding the payments made to Stormy Daniels. However, opinions are divided regarding the legality of his actions, with 37% of respondents believing that he acted illegally, 33% saying that his actions were unethical but not illegal, and 20% remaining unsure. Among political independents, only 8% believe that Trump did nothing wrong, and the majority are supportive of the indictment even if they are not yet convinced that Trump committed an illegal act.
The perception that former President Donald Trump's actions were questionable is widespread, even among those who disapprove of the indictment. About half of this group (52%) believes that Trump did something wrong regarding the payments made to Stormy Daniels. However, of those who disapprove of the indictment, far more believe that Trump acted unethically rather than illegally (49% unethical, 3% illegal), with 23% believing he did nothing wrong and 24% unsure. Among those who approve of the decision to indict Trump, only 1% believe that his actions were not wrong at all, while 59% believe that they were illegal and 23% believe that they were unethical.
According to the survey, the indictment of former President Donald Trump does not appear to have had a significant impact on how people view him personally. The poll shows that his favorability rating stands at 34% favourable to 58% unfavourable, which is similar to his standing in a previous CNN poll conducted in January. In that poll, 32% of respondents held a favourable view of Trump, while 63% had an unfavourable view. Among Republicans, 72% have a favourable view of Trump in the new poll, which is similar to the 68% who felt that way in January.
A majority of Americans (76%) believe that politics played a role in the decision to indict former President Donald Trump, who is both a former president and a current candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. Of those surveyed, 52% see politics as having played a major role in the decision, while around a quarter say it played a minor role and 14% believe that it played no role at all. About 10% of respondents are unsure if politics was a factor in the grand jury's vote.
The vast majority of Republicans, 93%, view the indictment of former President Donald Trump as politically motivated, with 83% of them saying that politics played a major role in the decision. Among independents, 52% believe that politics played a major role in the decision to indict Trump. In contrast, only 25% of Democrats believe that politics played a major role in the decision.
The impact of the indictment on democracy is a matter of contention among Americans, with roughly equal numbers of people believing it strengthens democracy as those who think it weakens it. Around 31% of respondents think the decision strengthens democracy, while an equal percentage believe it weakens it. About a quarter of respondents believe the indictment has no impact on democracy, and 15% are unsure. Republicans are more likely to see the indictment as weakening democracy, with 62% expressing this view, while most Democrats believe it strengthens democracy (55%). Among those who approve of the indictment, 48% see it as strengthening democracy, while 30% believe it has no effect on it. On the other hand, two-thirds of those who disapprove of the indictment and 54% of those who believe politics played a major role in the decision to indict see it as weakening democracy.
The poll also found that Americans are divided over the House Republicans' investigation into Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's handling of the Trump case. 35% of respondents approve of the GOP's efforts to investigate him, 38% disapprove, and 27% are unsure how they feel about the investigation.
According to the poll, over 90% of Americans have heard about the indictment, with 51% saying they have heard a lot. Democrats are the most informed group, with 56% saying they have heard a lot about the charges, while 48% of independents and 48% of Republicans have also heard a lot.
The CNN poll was conducted on March 31 and April 1 by SSRS among a random sample of 1,048 adults in the United States. The participants were recruited using probability-based methods and were surveyed via text message. The margin of sampling error for the full sample is plus or minus 4.0 percentage points, which means that the results are accurate within 4 percentage points either way. The margin of error is larger for subgroups.