Donald Trump's tangle of legal challenges may not be affecting Republicans much, but it is moving a critical group of voters: Independents.
New Navigator Research polling shows independents now believe by a 2-1 margin that Trump is a criminal (i.e., he committed a crime/crimes).
Not only did the survey find that independents say Trump committed a crime 67%-18%, it also showed a net movement toward that view of 12 points since earlier this month. That's a lot of movement among a group of voters that can prove decisive in nearly every election in these polarized times.
Note that Republicans (and Democrats, frankly) barely budged in the same time frame. By 61%-28%, Republicans still say Trump is innocent, net 33 points in favor of innocence. This is nearly unchanged from the net 32 points of Republicans who believed he was innocent earlier this month.
The poll was taken Aug. 17-21. That's before Trump's mugshot in the Georgia election conspiracy case was released Thursday, before any trials have begun, and before he starts running his campaign from the courtroom steps next year.
Quick reminder on independents from recent exit polling:
2018 midterms: Democrats won independents by 12 points and trounced Republicans.
2020 presidential: Joe Biden won independents by 13 points and won the White House.
2022 midterms: Democrats won independents by 2 points despite controlling the White House and wildly outperformed expectations.
Independents matter, and they are consolidating on the "Trump is criminal" side. At the same time Republican voters are like, “This is fine.”
Sign the petition: Disqualify Trump from running for public office.
We talk about the upcoming Republican presidential debate and how sad a situation it is. The Republican Party shot itself in the foot with a Trump-sized bullet and now it's stuck with him for the foreseeable future. We still try to game out the possible paths the Republican field might take in order to rid themselves of the Donald.