Majority of Americans think Trump's charges in Georgia election interference case are serious: POLL

The former president now faces four indictments; he denies all wrongdoing.

August 17, 2023, 7:00 AM

In a week where former President Donald Trump was indicted for a fourth time, a majority (63%) of Americans say that the charges approved by a grand jury in Georgia related to efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in the state are serious (47%) or somewhat serious (16%), according to a new ABC News/Ipsos poll.

Trump's latest indictment was handed up on Monday in Fulton County and charges him and 18 others in what District Attorney Fani Willis alleged was a "criminal racketeering enterprise to overturn Georgia's presidential election results."

Trump maintains he did nothing wrong and has claimed the four cases against him are politically motivated and "un-American," which prosecutors deny. He has pleaded not guilty to his three previous indictments but has not yet appeared in court in Georgia.

The public’s view on the gravity of Trump’s latest charges is similar to an ABC News/Ipsos poll conducted in early August right after Trump was indicted by a federal grand jury in the nation's capital on charges related to Jan. 6 and efforts to overturn his 2020 loss to Joe Biden.

That poll found that 65% of Americans thought Trump’s federal indictment was serious or somewhat serious.

Only a quarter of adults say the indictment this week is not too serious (10%) or not serious at all (15%). Earlier in August, a similar number (24%) said Trump’s Jan.6-related charges were not serious.

A plurality of Americans -- 49% -- think Trump should have been charged with a crime in the Georgia case, while 32% do not think he should have been. Fifty percent of Americans say Trump should suspend his presidential campaign, while 33% don’t think he should, per the ABC News/Ipsos poll conducted using Ipsos' KnowledgePanel.

At the same time, a plurality (49%) think that the charges in Georgia against Trump are politically motivated, while 35% think they are not. All of these findings are similar to the poll taken right after Trump’s Jan. 6 indictment.

These results depict a public that thinks Trump’s charges in Georgia are more serious than his two non-election-related indictments earlier this year.

Former President Donald Trump speaks at the 56th annual Silver Elephant Gala in Columbia, S.C., on Aug. 5, 2023.
Doug Mills/The New York Times via Redux

In ABC News/Ipsos polls in the wake of those previous indictments, 42% of Americans said the charges in the federal case in Florida concerning Trump’s alleged mishandling of and refusal to return government secrets after leaving office were very serious; and fewer, 30%, said the state case in New York City over hush money payments to an adult film actress in the days before the 2016 election was very serious.

In this week’s poll, 47% think the Georgia counts are very serious. By contrast, 51% thought Trump’s charges related to Jan. 6 were very serious.

The new ABC News/Ipsos poll also comes on the heels of Attorney General Merrick Garland’s appointment on Friday of Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss as a special counsel in his investigation of President Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden, who has pleaded not guilty to tax charges.

A plurality of Americans (48%) are not confident that the U.S. Justice Department is handling its investigation of Hunter Biden in a fair and nonpartisan manner, while only 32% express confidence in the investigation.

And during the week that the investigation into the president's son was assigned a special prosecutor and the former president was criminally indicted again, the favorability numbers for both Biden and Trump -- their parties’ 2024 front-runners -- remain well under water but unchanged in the two weeks since the last Trump indictment.

Biden and Trump’s favorability ratings both stand at 31%, and most Americans view both Biden (54%) and Trump (55%) unfavorably.

METHODOLOGY – This ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted using Ipsos Public Affairs' KnowledgePanel® August 15-16, 2023, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 508 U.S. adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 4.7 points, including the design effect. Partisan divisions are 26-25-41 percent, Democrats-Republicans-independents. See the poll’s topline results and details on the methodology here.

ABC News' Ken Goldstein and Dan Merkle contributed to this report.

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