By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023
Trump: Legal Challenges Stir Divisiveness — As we know, former President Donald Trump has been under a barrage of legal attacks in four jurisdictions, and a new poll suggests that at least one key state’s electorate isn’t responding well.Trump now faces 91 different charges and three of the trials are scheduled to begin in early March, not coincidentally, close to Super Tuesday, March 5. There is a strong chance that the Trump legal team will be able to delay many of the proceedings, but the possibility remains that voters will see one of the major candidates spending significant campaign time in a defendant’s chair.
A new Rasmussen Reports survey (conducted for “The Right Way” conservative blog; Sept. 8-11; 1,061 likely Georgia voters) suggests that Peach State respondents are losing trust in their electoral and legal systems as a result of the post-2024 election happenings and the Trump prosecutions.
When asked if the Georgia election system is “rigged,” 62 percent responded affirmatively. Additionally, a solid majority of 55 percent claim to be “worried that cheating will take place in the 2024 election.”
These are numbers not typically seen in other places, but the large amount of news coverage devoted to the Trump legal situation is likely motivating more people to give the situation and associated issues greater attention.
Georgia is the most important state on the 2024 Electoral College map. It is virtually impossible for a Republican to win the White House under the polarization we are seeing nationally without converting this populous Deep South domain. Only a handful of states are regarded as “swing,” with most analysts believing the electorates in as many as 45-48 states will vote as they did in 2020.
If these Rasmussen numbers are even in the outer realm of accuracy, the campaigns may have a difficult time convincing people to vote in the record proportion as we saw in the last two presidential elections.
An example of this occurred in the 2020 Georgia Senate general election runoffs where the strongest Republican counties did not return for the second election in the same proportion as did the Democrats from their strongest voting domains. It is believed that the Trump forces loudly claiming the election was fraudulent led to a slightly decreased GOP turnout, which proved enough to help elect Democratic Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock.
Though the Senate runoff experience would conclude that a lack of electoral trust would hurt the Republicans more than the Democrats, some of the remaining Rasmussen questions suggest we could see a backlash over the legal system going overboard, at least in many peoples’ opinion, against Trump.
According to the Rasmussen results, a strong respondent majority of 56 percent say they believe that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is prosecuting Trump “because of politics.” A 53 percent majority thinks the legislature should take action to stop Willis’ prosecution, while 51 percent even believes Willis, herself, should be investigated.
There is no question that the Trump legal situation is wreaking havoc across the presidential campaign. We have seen the strange situation where the former president’s polling numbers have actually increased rather substantially since all of the indictments were brought forth.
This phenomenon is not only happening in the Republican primary. Over the past two weeks, Trump has posted some of his best general election numbers of the election cycle and has developed a slight lead over President Joe Biden according to a half-dozen recent political pollsters, some of which come from major liberal media outlets such as CBS News and CNN.
It is difficult to tell if this polling streak and negative reaction to the government bringing almost 100 charges against the former president is a short-term blip or whether it has long lasting legs.
If voters, after seeing the evidence and the court proceeding, which inevitably will be televised, believe the charges to be frivolous or politically driven, we could see a situation where Trump gains votes as a statement against the legal establishment. If the proceedings convince people that crimes have been committed, then expect President Biden to win re-election going away.
There is no question that the 2024 presidential campaign will produce America’s most unique all-time election.