“The US political environment is highly polarised on Trump’s indictment, with some seeing this as being politically motivated.”
Donald Trump was indicted on 31 March by a Manhattan grand jury on charges of hush money payments and falsifying business records, making him the first former President to be indicted in US history. He has pled not guilty to 34 counts related to business fraud. The courtroom battle is likely to be a long drawn-out process that could take place during the midst of the 2024 presidential election and is likely to have implications for US politics.
- The political environment is highly polarised, with the electorate evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. A CNN poll (conducted on 31 March-1 April) found that 94% of Democrats approve of the decision to indict Trump, whereas 79% of Republicans disapproved. Significantly, 62% of independents also approve of the decision to indict Trump. The poll also indicated that 76% of Americans think politics played a role in the decision to indict Trump and 52% said politics played a major role.
- The Republican base is rallying around Donald Trump. Trump has seen his lead over Florida Governor Ron DeSantis rise from 13% to 26% since the announcement of the indictment1. These are still early days, but the indictment is likely to strengthen Trump’s case for the Republican nomination in the short term. According to political betting site Predictit, Trump is favoured over his number two rival DeSantis by 45% versus 36% as of 5 April.
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