Trump Guilty Verdict Shifts Voters’ Preferences Toward Biden, Latest Polls Show

One survey found that one in two voters believe Trump should drop out of the presidential race due to the verdict.

Following former President Donald Trump’s conviction last week on 34 New York-based felony level counts relating to his illegal hush money payments to conceal an extramarital affair, several polls are indicating a shift in voters’ preferences in the 2024 race.

Polling before last Thursday, prior to Trump being found guilty on all counts by a Manhattan jury of his peers, consistently showed the GOP nominee for president outperforming his Democratic opponent, current President Joe Biden (albeit, by very small margins). But in seven recent nationwide polls conducted on Thursday and beyond included in an aggregate of data collected by FiveThirtyEight, the trend appears to have flipped.

Biden now leads Trump (again, by small margins) in four out of those seven polls, which were on the site as of Monday morning. In one of the polls, the two candidates are even with one another. Trump only leads in two of the seven surveys included.

Other polls conducted in the wake of the ruling show that most Americans are satisfied with the verdict, and are shifting their consideration of who they will support in November.

A Morning Consult poll conducted on May 31, one day after the ruling, found that 54 percent of voters approved of the ruling. Voters were split over whether Trump should be imprisoned for his crimes, with about half saying he shouldn’t be — but 69 percent approved of the idea of fining him, and 49 percent approved of giving him a probationary sentence.

An ABC News/Ipsos survey similarly found that most approved of the conviction, with 50 percent saying the jury reached the correct decision and only 27 percent saying they did not. A plurality of voters, 49 percent, also said he should end his presidential campaign because of the verdict, with only 37 percent saying he should continue his pursuit for the White House.

The number of voters saying he should end his campaign is six points higher than it was in early April, when the question was presented to respondents as a possibility following a then-hypothetical guilty verdict for Trump.

Even some Republican voters believe the former president should consider dropping out because of the verdict. In the Morning Consult poll, 15 percent of GOP voters said as much, with around 8 percent of voters who described themselves specifically as “Trump supporters” saying he should quit — a small but sizable number that could mean a great deal in a race that’s likely to be very close.

Confirming those findings, a Reuters/Ipsos poll published late last week found that 1 in 10 GOP voters would be less willing to vote for Trump due to the verdict. About a quarter of independent voters also said they are less likely to vote for him now.

Despite these findings, the Biden campaign’s response to Trump being found guilty has been minimal, with the president giving a short statement and the campaign planning to just “focus only lightly on Trump’s legal troubles in the months to come,” according to reporting from The Washington Post.

That plan is irking several Democratic insiders and strategists, who believe Biden should be forceful on the issue, particularly since it’s a national news story that voters are paying attention to at a time when many are otherwise disengaging from politics in general.

“We need voters who pay less attention to the news,” former Obama administration adviser Dan Pfeiffer said in a series of posts on X. “The best way to reach these voters is at the big moments when political news breaks into the broader culture. This is one of those rare moments when non-political people talk about politics.”

The New York Times interviewed around 50 Democratic insiders to gauge their views on the topic. Most also want Biden to make Trump’s guilty verdict a mainstay of the campaign, the publication found.

Faiz Shakir, the former manager of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vermont) 2020 presidential run, also told The Times that there is a shift in the electorate that needs to be capitalized upon.

“The biggest thing I’m seeing is significant re-mobilization of an anti-Trump movement in America. There’s no doubt it has reinfused energy at this moment,” Shakir said.

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