Special Counsel Jack Smith’s indictments of former President Donald Trump appear to be strengthening him rather than weakening him among Republican supporters.
It was very clear that those in attendance at the Alabama Republican summer gathering still supported the former president when Fox News dispatched a reporter there.
Trump’s Friday speech in Montgomery was his first since being charged on Thursday in relation to the Jan. 6 Capitol incursion, though it didn’t hurt. The sample size, however, suggested that backing for the 45th president was solid.
“Are you serious?” asked one attendee named Mike. “Donald Trump is the best president that this country has ever had . . . and that goes back to Ronald Reagan. [Reagan] was a great president, and he ain’t as good as Donald Trump.”
“Who else would we support?” an attendee, identified as “C.J.,” told Fox News. “Our immigration problem, our economy? Trump. We’ve got to. We’ve got to bring America back. It’s terrible what Biden has done to our country. It’s horrible. We’ve got to get it back.”
Even a few voters who were still unsure of their vote admitted that the former president’s political base had not been harmed by the accusations.
Sen. Lance Bell of Alabama, who has not yet chosen a Republican contender for 2024, claimed on Fox News that the accusations will actually benefit Trump politically.
“I think the charges are helping him because people are seeing the political prosecution,” Bell said. “So I think the charges are helping him pick up support. It’s sad when we’re having that in our country — when we’re having political prosecutions.”
As the rest of the 2024 GOP field struggles to make any progress at all, it was reported over the weekend that Trump has increased his advantage in a key early primary state.
According to Fox Business, Trump won South Carolina by 10 points in 2016 but anticipates outpacing that margin this time around.
Trump had a huge 34-point lead in the Palmetto State according to a recent poll by the site. Additionally, more than 50 percent of respondents said they thought he would be the best contender to unseat President Joe Biden.
Fox Business added the following:
The new poll, released Sunday, finds almost half of South Carolina likely Republican primary voters backing Trump in the 2024 primary contest (48%). That number is slightly larger (51%) among those who say they will definitely vote in the February 24 primary.
Lagging far behind is former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley at 14%, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at 13%, and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott at 10%. No other candidate reaches double-digit support.
“Even though it’s still early, Trump is the proverbial 800-pound gorilla in this race,” Republican pollster Daron Shaw, who conducted the Fox Business poll along with Democrat Chris Anderson, said in describing the results. “The initial challenge is to see who can become the non-Trump candidate, and in South Carolina, that’s currently a three-way race among DeSantis, Haley, and Scott.”
According to Fox Business, Trump has the most support from voters who identify as very conservative (57%), voters under the age of 45 (55%), voters without a college degree (53%), voters in rural areas (52%), and White evangelicals (51%).
When asked who would be their second option after Trump, the majority of Trump supporters chose DeSantis (33%), followed by Scott (17%) and Haley (15%). Supporters of DeSantis voted for Trump (38%), Scott (29%) and Haley (19%) in that order. Scott became the second-most popular candidate among Haley supporters (38%).
“Still, Trump leads among both groups (electability vs. shares views) by more than 40 points,” the outlet noted.
As the 2024 election cycle gets under way, a new survey contains a lot of bad news for the Democratic Party and its front-runner, President Joe Biden.