Gag Order: Trump Held in Contempt Doesn’t Change Voter Opinions

May 04, 2024 Gag Order: Trump Held in Contempt Doesn’t Change Voter Opinions  image

Key Takeaways

  • Judge Juan Merchan holding Trump in contempt of court for violating a gag order pushes voters to double down on opinions they already hold about Trump or the courts.
  • Democrats view the fines and potential imprisonment as justified while Republicans are more likely to view the action as evidence of anti-Trump bias from the judge and legal system.
  • Some legal experts, however, express concerns for the judicial norms being broken by apparently politicized Trump trials, arguing Merchan is setting dangerous precedents.  

Our Methodology


All Voters

Sample Size


Geographical Breakdown


Time Period

14 Days

MIG Reports leverages EyesOver technology, employing Advanced AI for precise analysis. This ensures unparalleled precision, setting a new standard. Find out more about the unique data pull for this article. 

The reactions to Judge Juan Merchan holding former President Trump in contempt for violating a gag order doesn’t seem to sway voter opinions about the court case or Trump as a 2024 presidential candidate. Those who support Trump and view the trial as politicized continue to do so. And those who believe Trump should be punished for his actions feel Judge Merchan’s actions are justified.

Republicans and conservatives express outrage and skepticism at the contempt ruling. They view special counsel Jack Smith as a political hitman and believe the case is politically motivated. Many also believe Trump is being unjustly persecuted and are calling for investigations into the individuals they perceive to be orchestrating this persecution.

Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans are more likely to believe Trump has violated the gag order and should be held accountable for his actions. These voters are likely to be generally critical of Trump's presidency and his future election prospects. They argue no one is above the law, including former presidents, and Trump should face the consequences of his actions.

Liberals tend to believe Trump represents a threat to democracy and accuse him of aspiring to dictatorship. This group often cites various investigations and legal actions against Trump as evidence of his supposed criminal behavior.

The fact that Trump is being prosecuted for multiple crimes indicates to anti-Trump voters that he is guilty. Meanwhile, the same evidence is viewed by Trump supporters, not as a sign that Trump is guilty, but rather that the cases are politically motivated.

Some moderate voters hold skepticism towards both sides, questioning the motivations and actions of all involved. These individuals express frustration at the perceived political theater and call for more focus on issues that directly affect the American people.

There are also Democrats who express concern about the potential impact of protests and contempt charges on the upcoming election. They worry court rulings or convictions could lead to a backlash among certain voter groups, ultimately helping Trump in his re-election bid.

  • Donald Trump being held in contempt by Judge Merchan has not significantly impacted his approval, dropping only one point nationally and in swing states.
  • Sentiment towards Trump’s legal issues also dropped slightly, indicating some voters may feel unhappy with the proceedings.

Fear of Trump Being Re-elected

Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans are more likely to view the contempt charge as a clear sign of Trump's disregard for the law and the Constitution. Some liberals argue the former president is attempting to establish a dictatorship, undermine democracy, and escape accountability for alleged criminal activities. They express fear that if Trump were to be re-elected, he would terminate the Constitution and establish authoritarian rule.

Concern Over Judicial Norms

The reaction of many legal professionals and experts has placed focus on the implications of a former president being held in contempt. These experts argue the issue is less about Trump as an individual and more about the precedent it sets for future interactions between the judiciary and the executive branch. Many legal minds contrast allegations against Trump with allegations against Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and Bill Clinton, pointing out that political norms have historically prevented prosecuting political figures.

Critics of Trump argue the Trump prosecutions are justified and fair. They insist Trump's posts on social media could potentially influence the jury and witnesses. They applaud the judge's decision to hold Trump in contempt, arguing his conduct, rather than the tail itself, breaks norms. Some express hope this ruling could lead to further legal consequences for Trump, including potential jail time.

Free Speech Worries

Many are also framing the contempt charge as a free speech violation. They say the former president should be able to express his views without interference. This group believes the gag order is an example of judicial overreach and call for the fines to be returned.

Some argue the actions of Judge Merchan are part of a broader conspiracy to undermine Trump and his campaign. They have also expressed concern that the gag order extends to Trump's campaign, which they see as an infringement on political speech. There are repeated concerns that political actors are attempting to influence the election by silencing Trump and the American people have a right to hear from Trump himself.

There are also reactions that do not neatly fit into the pro-Trump or anti-Trump categories. Some voters say the issue is not as much about free speech as it is about the right to a fair trial. Others have expressed concern about the potential implications of the ruling for future cases. They say it could set a dangerous precedent for limiting free speech in the context of legal proceedings.

Stay Informed

More Like This