President Donald Trump has maintained his lead among GOP presidential hopefuls following his indictment in a Florida federal court. However, an unusual ripple in the Republican field has seen two second-tier 2024 candidates making minor gains. Although former Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) have boosted their polling status, the surge remains dwarfed by Trump’s continued dominance in GOP preference.
According to RealClearPolitics and early polls, Scott has jumped from 2% to 3.5% since Trump’s second indictment. Pence also enjoyed a 2% boost, from 4% to 6%. “We always believed the more people got to know Tim, the more they’d be attracted to his message,” Matt Gorman, Scott’s communications adviser, told the Washington Examiner.
Although @Mike_Pence and @SenatorTimScott have improved their standing since Donald Trump's second indictment, they are still polling in single digits compared to the onetime president, who maintains his majority support.https://t.co/DsTDy3rFuP
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) June 28, 2023
Trump’s indictment comes from a federal classified documents case involving 37 felony counts related to the alleged retention of national defense information, obstruction of justice, and false statements. In this storm, Trump’s support initially surged from 54% to 56% before dipping to 52%.
One Pence aide notably credited his rise to the former vice president “clearly” establishing himself as the “best alternative” to Trump. He represents the best of Ronald Reagan and the Trump-Pence administration without requiring on-the-job training or concerns regarding his character, a valuable characteristic in today’s political climate.
While the tides are rising for Pence and Scott, they remain in the shadow of the Trump wave. An NBC News poll finds Trump commanding 51% of national Republican primary voters’ preference for the 2024 GOP nomination, followed by 22% for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, 7% for Pence, and 5% for Chris Christie.
The indictment, ironically, has had a negligible impact on Trump’s standing. 77% of GOP primary voters cite minor to no real concerns about the charges. The belief that the indictments are politically motivated is prevalent, with 64% of Republican primary voters holding that view. This sentiment has remained strong despite the charges.
“Something has to happen to shift this race,” said Republican pollster Bill McInturff, referencing Trump’s robust lead. With half of GOP primary voters considering other leaders, there seems to be an opening for a shift in allegiance. Still, it remains to be seen how it will play out.
Indeed, despite the indictments and the fledgling bumps for Pence and Scott, Trump remains the undeniable leader of the Republican party, symbolizing resistance to the political establishments and media narratives.
The enduring support for Trump within the GOP signals a solid connection to the former president’s policy and values. This connection remains crucial, particularly as many Republican primary voters express concern about a GOP without Trump at the helm. Even with the recent hurdles, Trump’s commitment to liberating the nation from a ‘corrupt Washington swamp’ continues to resonate with the base.