A new CNN poll conducted by SSRS has shown that 60% of Americans approve of the indictment of former President Donald Trump. The poll followed news that a New York grand jury had voted to charge Trump with hush payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. Additionally, about three-quarters of Americans say politics played at least some role in the decision to indict Trump, including 52% who said it played a major role.
The poll found that independents largely support the indictment, with 62% approving of it and 38% disapproving. Democrats are near universal in their support for the indictment, with 94% approving, including 71% who strongly approve of the indictment. Republicans are less unified in opposition, with 79% disapproving and 54% strongly disapproving.
While views on the indictment are split along party lines, the poll finds that majorities across the major demographic divide approve of the decision to indict the former president. This includes gender (62% of women, 58% of men), racial and ethnic groups (82% of Black adults, 71% of Hispanic adults, 51% of White adults), generational lines (69% under age 35; 62% age 35-49; 53% age 50-64; 54% 65 or older) and educational levels (68% with college degrees, 56% with some college or less).
The former president faces more than 30 counts related to business fraud, but the indictment remains under seal, and the charges were not publicly known at the time of the survey. The investigation relates to a $130,000 payment made by Trump’s then-personal attorney, Michael Cohen, to Daniels in late October 2016, days before the 2016 presidential election, to silence her from going public about an alleged affair with Trump a decade earlier. Trump has denied the affair. At issue in the investigation is the payment made to Daniels and the Trump Organization’s reimbursement to Cohen.
The poll suggests that the indictment has not had a major effect on views of Trump personally. The poll finds his favorability rating at 34% favourable to 58% unfavourable, similar to his standing in a January CNN poll, in which 32% held a favourable view of the former president and 63% an unfavourable one. Among Republicans, 72% hold a favourable view in the new poll, similar to the 68% who felt that way in January.
Most Americans (76%) believe politics played at least some role in indicting Trump, a former president and current candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. About half (52%) see it as having played “a major role” in the decision, while around a quarter say it played a minor role and 14% no role at all. Another 10% are unsure if politics influenced the grand jury’s vote.
Nearly all Republicans, 93%, see the indictment as politically motivated, including 83% who say politics played a major role. Among independents, 52% say politics played a major role; that drops to 25% among Democrats.
Americans are split over the effect the indictment may have on democracy. About three in 10 say the decision strengthens US democracy (31%), and an identical share say it weakens democracy (31%). Roughly a quarter say it does not affect democracy (23%), and 15% are unsure. Republicans broadly see it as weakening democracy (62% say so). Two-thirds of those who disapprove of the indictment say the same (67%), as do 54% of those who believe politics played a major role in the decision to indict.