Donald Trump’s lead over his Republican primary rivals widened in a poll conducted after his fourth indictment, showing the kind of support that’s prompting him to deride this week’s GOP debate.
(Bloomberg) — Donald Trump’s lead over his Republican primary rivals widened in a poll conducted after his fourth indictment, showing the kind of support that’s prompting him to deride this week’s GOP debate.
The CBS News/YouGov poll of likely Republican primary voters found 62% support for the former president and 16% for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, his closest competitor in the race for the GOP nomination, who declined 7 percentage points from a CBS poll in June. Trump polled 61% in the earlier survey.
Trump’s support among his base has held up throughout his growing legal entanglements, most recently a 19-person indictment in Atlanta that charges him and top aides with seeking to overturn his 2020 election loss in Georgia. Asked about the latest indictment, 77% in the CBS poll said they view it as “politically motivated.”
Part of Trump’s campaign strategy has been to deprive his competitors of attention. He has repeatedly questioned the point of participating in the first Republican primary debate on Wednesday, citing his polling lead. He swiftly touted Sunday’s poll on his Truth Social platform, including its headline asserting that “GOP voters dismiss indictments.”
Trump is expected to feature in an interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Aug. 23, overlapping with the GOP debate, though a spokesperson said Friday that plans hadn’t been finalized.
The former president was absent from a showcase of Republican presidential candidates in Atlanta after conservative radio host Erick Erickson said he wanted the gathering, which ended Saturday, to give space to other hopefuls.
Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel said on Fox News’s Sunday Morning Futures she is “still holding out hope that President Trump will come.”
Three days before the GOP debate in Milwaukee, former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson’s campaign said Sunday he has qualified to take part after meeting the donor and poll-number requirements.
Hutchinson, 72, a consistent Trump critic, said on CNN’s State of the Union that he’ll also sign an RNC pledge to support the party’s eventual 2024 nominee for president. “I’m confident that Donald Trump is not going to be the nominee of the party,” Hutchinson said.
A person familiar with the debate qualification process said Sunday the RNC hasn’t verified his donors yet and hasn’t signed the pledge.
Seven other candidates received single-digit support in the CBS poll, including businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, former Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina.
Respondents cited lowering inflation, reducing crime and stopping illegal immigration as the top issues they’d like to hear candidates discuss on Wednesday.
The Aug. 16-18 CBS News/YouGov poll of 538 likely Republican primary voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.7 percentage points.
–With assistance from Gregory Korte.
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