WASHINGTON (Reuters) – About half of Americans believe the New York investigation into whether Donald Trump paid money to silence a porn star is politically motivated, but the vast majority believe the allegations are plausible, a Reuters/Ipsos poll has shown.
The two-day poll, which ended Tuesday, found that 54% of respondents, including 80% of supporters of the former Republican president and 32% of Democrats, said politics was the reason for the Manhattan grand jury’s criminal case.
Seventy percent of respondents and half of Republicans said it was plausible that Trump, during his 2016 presidential campaign, paid adult film actress Stormy Daniels to keep her quiet about an alleged sexual encounter.
About 62% of respondents, including a third of Republicans, said it was also plausible that Trump had falsified business documents and committed fraud.
(Graphic: What do Americans think of the accusations against Trump, https://www.reuters.com/graphics/USA-TRUMP/POLL/klpygqnajpg/chart.png)
The findings highlight the unprecedented nature of the criminal investigations surrounding Trump as he seeks the Republican nomination to run again for the White House in 2024.
No U.S. president has ever faced criminal charges in court.
Trump, who faces potentially stiff competition in his third bid for the Republican nomination, has denied ever having an extramarital affair with Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.
On Saturday, he said he expected to be arrested on Tuesday and asked his supporters to respond by donating money to his presidential campaign. A Manhattan grand jury decides whether to indict him.
Republican Party officials, strategists and analysts say Trump’s prosecution will only strengthen the resolve of his most loyal supporters.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a potential challenger for the Republican nomination, has criticized what he called the politicization of the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, but also dealt a veiled blow to Trump.
Trump responded aggressively with a slur-filled post on his Truth Social platform.
About nine out of ten respondents said they had heard of the Manhattan prosecutors v. Trump case, one of several investigations pursuing Trump. The Georgia District Attorney is considering Trump’s allegations of trying to undo his defeat in the 2020 election.
Trump falsely claims that his loss to Democratic President Joe Biden was due to fraud and was recorded asking Georgia Election Commission officials to find the votes Trump needed to win.
Trump is also facing a Justice Department investigation into his possession of classified documents after leaving the White House, as well as his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.
About 54% of respondents, including 85% of Democrats and 21% of Republicans, said Trump’s allegation of election fraud was plausible.
The Reuters/Ipsos poll polled 1,003 adults nationwide, including 415 self-described Democrats and 383 Republicans. The survey had a confidence interval, a measure of accuracy, of about 4-6 percentage points in either direction.
(Reporting by Jason Lange, additional reporting by Nathan Lane and Graham Slattery; editing by Scott Malone and Howard Goller)