The majority of Republican primary voters do not think the charges in any of the criminal cases against former President Donald Trump are relevant when considering his fitness to serve as commander-in-chief, according to a CNN/SSRS poll.
The poll published on Tuesday asked Republicans and right-leaning independents whether or not they believe the charges, “if true,” in each of the four cases against Trump “should disqualify [him] from the presidency,” “cast doubts on his fitness” to serve but should not disqualify him, or if they are irrelevant to his fitness for the job. In each instance, at least 64 percent of respondents said the charges “Are not relevant to his fitness for the presidency.”
Taking a deeper look, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s case alleging 34 counts of the falsification of business records against Trump is perceived as the weakest among GOP voters based on the responses.
Just eight percent believe the charges should be disqualifying, while 20 percent think they should cast doubts on his adequacy to serve. However, the overwhelming majority of 70 percent do not think the case has any bearing on his fitness for office.
Notably, Bragg’s case has been highly criticized by Trump defenders and foes alike, including his 2016 rival Jeb Bush and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT). George Washington University Law professor Jonathan Turley believes the case “could collapse” before trial.
The second case brought against Trump stemmed from Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into classified documents he allegedly took to Mar-a-Lago at the end of his presidency. Of Republicans and right-leaning independents, 64 percent do not think the charges, if true, are relevant to his fitness for office. Only 13 percent say the charges should bar Trump from the White House, while another 24 percent think they “cast doubt on his fitness for the job.”
This indictment has been heavily scrutinized, with conservative radio host and litigator Mark Levin slamming it as an “insurrection” and election interference.
“They made the decision to interfere in this election. You wanna talk about an insurrection? This is an insurrection!” Levin told Fox News Channel’s Hannity on June 8. “And that’s exactly what’s going on here. Let me go on, Joe Biden is the crookedest crook that’s ever been in the Oval Office.”
In the other case pursued by Smith, which alleges Trump attempted to overturn the 2020 election results, 64 percent of likely GOP primary voters again do not believe the four charges affect his adequacy to serve. Conversely, 17 percent say the allegations, if valid, should prohibit Trump from becoming president, while 19 percent think they cast doubts on his adequacy for the presidency.
Turley has called Smith’s January 6 case “pretty thin soup” and “very difficult to prove” while appearing on FNC’s Your World in early August:
“It’s really approaching the urban legend status because he’s not charged with incitement,” he said. “He’s not charged with insurrection. He’s not charged with seditious conspiracy. He’s not charged with all of those things the Democrats impeached him on the second time. So they’re really bigfooting the Constitution here. It’s not there. But the question is, what is here? And I have to tell you, this is pretty thin soup, in my view. They have a colossal constitutional problem that they will have to overcome from the outset. They have to establish all of these linchpins, that he not only believed that — the truth of the matter, that he understood he was lying, but then he played a criminal role in getting these other individuals to take the steps mentioned in the indictment.”
Finally, 64 percent of the respondents do not view Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’s case — alleging Trump, his aides, and lawyers committed numerous crimes, including a RICO violation in their challenge of the 20202 election — as a factor in considering whether Trump is fit for office. The remaining 36 percent say it should disqualify him or at least bring questions about his fitness to lead.
Willis’s case has come under scrutiny as well, particularly some of her behavior amid the investigation. Legal analyst and founder of Abrams Media Dan Abrams has argued Willis “overtly politicized” her case against Trump. Conservatives have voiced their criticisms of the indictment, with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) calling it a “desperate sham.”
SSRS conducted the poll for CNN between August 25 and 31, sampling 1,503 respondents, including “898 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents.” The margin of error for the total sample is plus or minus 3.5 percent.