IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.
Former President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference
Former President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Oxon Hill, Md., on Mar. 4.Alex Brandon / AP file

Here's what recent polling says about a Trump indictment

The public is deeply divided ahead of looming Trump indictment

By and

Recent polls conducted shortly before the news that a New York grand jury voted to indict former President Donald Trump shows deep political divisions about the investigations he is facing.

Majorities, or near majorities, of Americans polled recently by both Quinnipiac University and NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist broadly support investigations into Trump or are skeptical of the former president's conduct.

But in each case, there's a massive split between Republicans and Democrats, with independents caught in the middle (albeit more likely to side with Democrats). And even though the actual charges are still sealed, large numbers of people have already made up their minds about them — meaning much of the reaction to the actual indictment might already be baked in.

These polls were conducted after Trump's recent declaration he would be indicted, but before the news of the grand jury vote. Here's a look at some of the key questions examined in recent days:

Are the investigations into Trump viewed as "fair?"

Trump is facing investigations in New York (related to alleged hush money payments to an adult film actress who says she had an affair with Trump, which he denies), as well as investigations in Georgia and by a Justice Department special counsel into his attempts to overturn the 2020 election and his handling of classified documents.

When asked broadly by NPR/PBS/Marist whether their views on the investigations into Trump are closer to a belief that they are fair or a "witch hunt," 56% of Americans say fair and 41% say they're a "witch hunt."

While independents are virtually split on the issue, 87% of Democrats call the investigations fair and 80% of Republicans see them as a "witch hunt." A majority of college-educated adults come down on the side of "fair," as do younger adults (Gen Zers and millennials), and those living in both cities and the suburbs. Majorities of adults without a college education, white evangelicals, and those living in small towns side with the investigations being closest to a "witch hunt."

Did Trump do anything wrong?

The same NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist poll shows a plurality of Americans, 46%, believe Trump's done something illegal related to those investigations. Another 29% say Trump "has done something unethical, but not illegal," while 23% say he's "done nothing wrong."

Similar demographic differences loom under the surface of this question, especially partisan, educational and geographical ones.

Should an indictment disqualify Trump from running?

Quinnipiac University found a similar trend yet again when it asked adults whether criminal charges should disqualify Trump.

Overall, 57% say "criminal charges filed against" Trump should disqualify him from a presidential bid, while 38% said it should not.

Majorities of Democrats (88%) and independents (55%) say charges should disqualify him, while 75% of Republicans think charges should not.

How is this affecting Trump in GOP primary polls?

With so many Republicans standing by Trump in recent weeks, against the backdrop of the New York indictment and developments in other investigations, Trump's standing in GOP primary polls remains strong.

Trump expanded his lead in Quinnipiac's 2024 primary poll to 47%, 14 percentage points above Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis (last month, Trump sat at 42%, 6 percentage points ahead of DeSantis).

And he hit 54% to DeSantis' 24% in the new national Fox News poll (last month's Fox poll had him at 43% and DeSantis at 28%).

And the Quinnipiac poll found that 72% of Republicans say Trump has had a positive impact on their party.

The NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll surveyed 1,327 adults from March 20-23 via live telephone, text and online interviews. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

The Quinnipiac poll surveyed 1,788 U.S. adults from March 23rd — 27th with a margin of error of +/- 2.3 percentage points. The survey included 1,600 self-identified registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points. The survey included 671 Republican and Republican leaning voters with a margin of error of +/- 3.8 percentage points.

CORRECTION (2:30 p.m.): A previous version of this story mistakenly attributed the partisan breakdown of those who believe the Trump investigations are a "witch hunt." Among Republicans, 80% agree with that sentiment.