About half of Americans believe a New York investigation into whether Donald Trump paid hush money to a porn star is politically motivated, but a large majority find the allegations believable, a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll found.
The two-day poll, concluded on Tuesday, found 54% of respondents – including 80% of the former president’s fellow Republicans and 32% of Democrats – said politics was driving the criminal case being weighed by a Manhattan grand jury.Seventy percent of respondents, and half of Republicans, said it was believable that Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign paid the adult film actress Stormy Daniels for her silence about an alleged sexual encounter.Some 62% of respondents, including a third of Republicans, said it was also believable that Trump falsified business records and committed fraud.The findings underscore the unprecedented nature of the criminal probes surrounding Trump as he seeks the Republican nomination to run for the White House again in 2024.No U.S. president has ever faced criminal charges in court.
Trump, who is facing potentially stiff competition in his third bid for the Republican nomination, has denied ever having an extramarital affair with Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.
He said on Saturday he expected to be arrested on Tuesday and has asked his supporters to respond by giving money to his presidential campaign. A Manhattan grand jury is weighing whether to indict him.
Republican Party officials, strategists and analysts have said Trump’s prosecution would only harden the determination of his most loyal supporters.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a potential rival for the Republican nomination, has criticized what he called the politicization of the Manhattan district attorney’s office but has also taken a veiled swipe at Trump.
Trump responded aggressively with an innuendo-filled post on his Truth Social platform.
About nine in 10 respondents said they had heard about the Manhattan prosecutors’ case against Trump, one of several probes dogging Trump. A county prosecutor in Georgia is considering charges Trump tried to overturn his 2020 election defeat.
Trump falsely claims his loss to Democratic President Joe Biden was due to fraud and was recorded asking Georgia election officials to find the votes Trump needed to win.
Trump also faces U.S. Justice Department probes into his retention of classified documents after leaving the White House as well as his efforts to overturn the 2020 election result.
Some 54% of respondents – including 85% of Democrats and 21% of Republicans – said the accusation that Trump solicited election fraud was believable.
The Reuters/Ipsos poll gathered responses from 1,003 adults nationwide, including 415 self-described Democrats and 383 Republicans. The poll had a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of about 4-6 percentage points in either direction.