Trump’s behavior is weighing on Republicans as they consider 2024 options.


Donald J. Trump’s behavior in the days leading up to the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was viewed by 75 percent of likely Republican presidential primary voters as the president “just exercising his right to contest the election,” while 19 percent said he “went so far that he threatened American democracy,” according to a New York Times/Siena College poll.

But among Republicans who said they wouldn’t back the former president in the 2024 primary, 32 percent said he was a threat to democracy, suggesting that contingent could form the base of Mr. Trump’s opposition.

For those primary voters who wouldn’t back Mr. Trump, 59 percent said Mr. Trump was just contesting the election. However, 21 percent said Mr. Trump’s behavior included serious federal crimes, compared with 3 percent of Mr. Trump’s core supporters who said the same.

The poll also showed that 86 percent of Mr. Trump’s Republican primary voters believed Mr. Trump was the legitimate winner of the 2020 election. One-third of the Republican anti-Trump voters said the same.

Still, while Mr. Trump has described election integrity as the country’s most pressing concern, just 3 percent of the Republican respondents named it as the nation’s top problem.

Travis Reinink, a Republican voter in Nevada who participated in the poll, said President Biden’s victory was illegitimate and that he viewed the House investigations into Mr. Trump’s behavior as “one-sided.” Still, he said recent testimony from former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson “opened my eyes to some stuff.”

Mr. Reinink said he would vote for Mr. Trump in a rematch of the 2020 contest.

“I know that he was very brazen,” Mr. Reinink said. “But Trump is who he is, and he’s not going to change. It’s one of the things I both like and dislike about him.”

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