In the middle of last year, several of Donald Trump’s closest advisers, including some of his 2024 campaign’s senior staff, started noticing an ominous trend in independent polling and in internal Republican survey data: A significant share of swing voters in key states — even some Republicans — say they would not want to vote for a freshly-convicted criminal.
The trend spooked them enough that, in recent months, some of these officials and political allies have directly warned Trump of possible looming catastrophe ahead for his 2024 presidential bid, two people with direct knowledge of the matter tell Rolling Stone.
For the most part, Trump has shrugged off such warnings, as he and his campaign brass publicly lean on bravado and their messaging that President Joe Biden’s reelection prospects are unequivocally doomed in November. Still, Trump and his legal team are working diligently to delay his criminal trials, in hopes that he can secure the presidency once again — and the power to quash the cases — before any potential convictions come down.
They’ve had at least some success: On Friday, the judge in Trump’s Washington, D.C. election subversion case declared that the trial will not take place on March 4, as it was originally scheduled, and will be rescheduled at a later date.
Republicans close to the former president and current 2024 GOP frontrunner have been carefully tracking poll results — especially in a handful of battleground states that will decide the expected Biden-Trump rematch — of likely swing voters who say they are open to pulling the lever for Trump, with a major caveat. Many of these survey respondents, including in the crucial bloc of self-identifying independents, keep saying that they would not vote for Trump, if prior to the election, a jury handed down a guilty verdict in one of the criminal cases against him. [Continue reading…]