William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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THE WEIRD PRESIDENTIAL RACE:  Have you ever seen any presidential race this strange?  As we've written here before, we have an impaired president who may not always know where he is, opposed by the frontrunner of the other party, who is under indictment.  Present that story to any publisher in New York, and your book would be turned down.   Incredibly, Donald Trump has gained still further in the polls.  Clearly, many of his supporters, and some others, believe he's being treated very unfairly.  But he's also getting more doubters.  From Fox: 

Former President Donald Trump continues to lead as the GOP frontrunner after being indicted on federal charges in early June, however, nearly half of GOP voters surveyed are skeptical over whether he should continue to lead the Republican Party, according to a new poll.

A new NBC poll shows a majority of Republican voters would vote for Trump in the Republican primary, with 51% listing him as their number one choice. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis came in second with 22% of the votes and former Vice President Mike Pence coming in third with 7%.

These new numbers come in comparison to how the candidates fared with GOP voters back in April shortly after Trump was indicted in New York in connection to hush-money payments made in 2016. 46% of Republican voters supported Trump then and 31% said they were backing DeSantis.

After pleading not guilty to 37 federal charges related to his handling of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate in June, a combined total of 77% of GOP primary voters stated the federal charges gave them either minor concerns (14%) or no real concerns (63%). 64% of Republican voters also said the various indictments and investigations Trump faces are politically motivated.

These numbers are then compared to 55% of all registered voters who say the charges give them either major concerns (47%) or moderate concerns (8%).

Trump remains the GOP frontrunner, even when poised in a hypothetical match against DeSantis, with 60% of Republican voters backing the former President and DeSantis receiving only 36%.

However, in a hypothetical Trump-Biden battle, President Joe Biden came out on top with a near majority of the vote (49%). Trump received 45% support. However, a total of 68% of those surveyed stated Biden's mental and physical health was a major/moderate concern for them.

On the flip side, when asked if they agree with Trump remaining the party's leader, nearly half of GOP voters said yes, with 21% saying they believed he was a good president but it was time to consider other leaders.

Trump appeared at a Miami federal courthouse in early June in connection with the classified documents case, marking the first time a former president has faced federal criminal charges. The charges include willful retention of national defense information, conspiracy to obstruct justice and false statements.

COMMENT:  One of the most striking things about this poll, and others, is how poorly Ron DeSantis is doing with Republican primary voters.  This can turn out to be one of the major political stories of the year, should Trump falter and the Republicans need a replacement candidate.  DeSantis is one of the best governors in America and would, in my view, be an excellent president.  He was the heir apparent only months ago, but, for some reason, many voters don't care for him.  We'll be watching this phenomenon in coming weeks to see if his campaign makes changes.  If you have an opinion on DeSantis, please let us know, or send a submission to our Forum at comments@urgentagenda.com

June 26, 2023