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FBI Probe Unlikely To Reduce Trump's Popularity

US

The warrant for the FBI search of Former President Trump's Florida residence is expected to be released at some point today. Ahead of that, analysts are looking for signs that the FBI probe will influence Trump's political standing ahead of the midterm elections in November, and president elections in 2024.

  • There is a significant volume of polling data to suggest that Trump's various legal battles have done little to curtail his popularity. A Morning Consult report shows that support for Trump strengthened as the January 6 Congressional Committee hearings were broadcast over the summer.
    • According to Morning Consult, Trump registered his highest level of support for a 2024 bid during the most recent batch of polling, in August.
  • Preliminary evidence from betting markets supports the polling data. Betting exchange Smarkets shows a modest seven percentage point drop in Trump's implied probability of taking the 2024 Republican nomination following the FBI search. Still comfortably ahead of his most likely challenger, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL).
  • There are variables to consider. The nature of material taken from Trump's residence during the search may be especially compelling. Suggestions that Trump may have seriously breached national security protocols by removing documents related to sensitive military operations of nuclear secrets may play poorly with a section of Trump's base.
  • Also to be considered: The probe may increase support for Trump in a similar way Republican efforts to impeach President Bill Clinton may have inadvertently led to Democrats gaining five House seats in the 1998 midterm elections.
  • The most likely conclusion is that the FBI probe is unlikely to affect the 2022, or 2024 election equations unless the investigation leads to a criminal conviction.

Chart 1: Share of Republican voters who would vote for Donald Trump if the 2024 Republican primary was held today, % (Morning Consult)

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The warrant for the FBI search of Former President Trump's Florida residence is expected to be released at some point today. Ahead of that, analysts are looking for signs that the FBI probe will influence Trump's political standing ahead of the midterm elections in November, and president elections in 2024.

  • There is a significant volume of polling data to suggest that Trump's various legal battles have done little to curtail his popularity. A Morning Consult report shows that support for Trump strengthened as the January 6 Congressional Committee hearings were broadcast over the summer.
    • According to Morning Consult, Trump registered his highest level of support for a 2024 bid during the most recent batch of polling, in August.
  • Preliminary evidence from betting markets supports the polling data. Betting exchange Smarkets shows a modest seven percentage point drop in Trump's implied probability of taking the 2024 Republican nomination following the FBI search. Still comfortably ahead of his most likely challenger, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL).
  • There are variables to consider. The nature of material taken from Trump's residence during the search may be especially compelling. Suggestions that Trump may have seriously breached national security protocols by removing documents related to sensitive military operations of nuclear secrets may play poorly with a section of Trump's base.
  • Also to be considered: The probe may increase support for Trump in a similar way Republican efforts to impeach President Bill Clinton may have inadvertently led to Democrats gaining five House seats in the 1998 midterm elections.
  • The most likely conclusion is that the FBI probe is unlikely to affect the 2022, or 2024 election equations unless the investigation leads to a criminal conviction.

Chart 1: Share of Republican voters who would vote for Donald Trump if the 2024 Republican primary was held today, % (Morning Consult)

Keep reading...Show less