President Donald Trump portrait smiling at the crowd during a campaign rally for Congressman Lou Barletta held at the Mohegan Sun Arena. (Evan El-Amin via Shutterstock) Credit: Evan El-Amin via Shutterstock

Slightly more than half of all Americans think former President Donald J. Trump should be prosecuted on charges that he tried to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, according to a new poll from Quinnipiac University. 

The poll, released Wednesday, also found that 68% of respondents think conviction of a felony should make a candidate ineligible to run for office. 

Despite the negative views, Trump was able to widen his lead over his nearest rival for the Republican nomination for the 2024 election, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and gained ground on President Joe Biden in a potential repeat of 2020. 

Quinnipiac questioned 1,818 adults nationwide between Aug. 10 and Aug. 14, and the poll has a margin of error of 2.3 points. 

The poll’s timeframe means it was conducted in the wake of the Justice Department indicting Trump on four charges accusing him of conspiring to overturn the 2020 results. 

The poll was completed before Georgia prosecutors charged Trump and 18 others with trying to change results in that state. 

Quinnipiac found that 54% of respondents think Trump should be prosecuted on the federal charges, compared with 42% who don’t think he should be. The poll also found that 64% said they view the charges as very or somewhat serious.  

“Not only do a large majority of Americans regard the federal charges as serious, more than half of Americans think the former president should face prosecution,” Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy said. 

The results were unsurprisingly partisan, with 95% of Democrats and 57% of independent voters saying the prosecution should move forward. Conversely, 85% of Republicans did not think Trump should face prosecution. 

The indictments don’t seem to be hurting Trump’s chances of winning the Republican nomination for a third time as the party prepares for its first debate on Aug. 23. 

If the primary were held today, 57% of Republicans said they would pick Trump. That’s an increase of 3 points from Quinnipiac’s July poll. 

DeSantis’ support fell to 18%, a drop of 7 points. Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy also gained 3 points, up to 5%. Former Vice President Mike Pence, former United Nations Ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie all came in behind Ramaswamy. 

The poll continues to show President Joe Biden with a commanding lead in the Democratic field, leading environmental lawyer and anti-vaccine activist Robert Kennedy 72-13. 

Trump gained ground against Biden in a hypothetical two-candidate race. Respondents gave Biden a 47-46 lead, down from the 5 point lead he had last month and within the margin of error. 

Neither candidate had strong approval ratings: only 37% of respondents approved of Biden’s performance as president, with most giving him unfavorable reviews for his handling of the economy, foreign policy and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

Trump was just as unpopular, as only 38% of respondents said they view him favorably. 

The economy is the most important issue for 33% respondents, while 25% said they’re most concerned with preserving democracy. 

The rest of respondents were divided among abortion, at 8%; climate change and immigration, 7% each; racial inequality and healthcare, 6% each; and gun violence, 3%.  

The poll found 50% of respondents described their financial situation as “good” and another 10% said it’s “excellent.” Only 12% said their situation is “poor,” while 26% said things are “not so good.” 

Still, it seems people don’t feel good about the economy overall, with 51% saying they think the economy is getting worse. That’s compared with 28% who think the economy is not changing and only 20% who believe things are improving.