Four criminal indictments and a viral mug shot later, former president and current GOP frontrunner for the seat in 2024 Donald Trump has only risen in the polls, garnering support as more Americans come to view the prosecutions as partisan and political.
"The new survey finds that what was once a two-man race for the nomination has collapsed into a lopsided contest," with President Trump widely taking the lead, the publication found.
WSJ had run a similar poll in April, and found that President Trump has almost doubled his lead over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis since then, rising 11 points and bringing the difference between the two to 46 points.
"At 13% support, DeSantis is barely ahead of the rest of the field, none of whom has broken out of single-digit support," WSJ wrote.
The Florida governor's approval dropped the most, going from 24 percent to 13 percent of likely primary voters declaring him their first choice between the April and recent poll.
The group of undecided voters dropped significantly from 13 percent to 4 percent, with most voters backing one of the candidates in the August poll. Besides President Trump, a few other candidates also saw an increase in votes.
Entrepreneur and political outsider Vivek Ramaswamy saw his voter share go up from 2 to 5 percent, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley's numbers increased from 5 to 8 percent, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie increased from 0 to 3 percent, and former Vice President Mike Pence increased from 1 to 2 percent.
Indictment EffectWSJ also asked voters about the multiple indictments against President Trump, and found that most Republican voters viewed it in his favor: 78 percent said the president's actions after 2020 were "legitimate efforts to ensure an accurate vote," while 16 percent said the attempt to block Congress was illegal. Also, 16 percent said they were less likely to vote for President Trump because of the indictments, while 48 percent said they were more likely to vote for him because of the indictments.
When polling President Trump against President Joe Biden, the WSJ poll found them evenly tied, with 8 percent undecided. When third-party candidates were added to the hypothetical race, 40 percent chose President Trump and 39 percent chose President Biden.
Candidates' reactions to the indictments have also shifted their support rankings, WSJ found.
Mr. Pence's remarks and stance on the 2020 elections have separated him from Republican voters who support President Trump. In the WSJ poll in April, 54 percent of respondents viewed him favorably, whereas now 63 percent have an unfavorable view of him. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had the highest unfavorable opinion share, more than 70 percent.
Republican primary voters found President Trump even more electable after the mug shot event, and his skipping the first primary debate, according to the poll.
A majority, 62 percent, of the Republican primary voters surveyed said President Trump had the best chance of beating President Biden in the 2024 race, up almost 10 points from when the consulting firm ran a similar survey just a week before.
Meanwhile, support for Mr. DeSantis also dropped, with just 13 percent of voters saying he is most electable, matching a low from when Morning Consult began polling in April. Mr. Ramaswamy, who had been climbing in the polls as of late, also saw a dip, from 10 to 6 percent, after the viral mug shot, as more voters turned to President Trump.
Previous indictments likewise increased President Trump's numbers in the polls and fundraising, with supporters explaining that they saw the candidate's actions as a stand for justice.
'Never Surrender'Ahead of his surrender in Fulton County, Georgia, where he was charged with racketeering over contesting the state's 2020 election results, President Trump had written on social media that he would "proudly be arrested" for fighting for election integrity.
Separately, he told Fox News the process was "not a comfortable feeling—especially when you’ve done nothing wrong."
He said the jail staff had behaved "very nicely," but the event symbolized a "very sad day for our country."
"This is a weaponized Justice Department," he said.