Trump conviction doesn’t immediately sway voters; Biden still trailing

Former President Donald Trump, center right, talks to Dana White while attending the UFC 302 mixed martial arts event Saturday in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Americans are divided on whether former President Donald Trump was treated fairly by a New York jury that declared him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt on dozens felony charges or if he should see the inside of a jail cell as a consequence, new polling shows.

According to a Morning Consult survey taken the day after the 45th President heard the verdict, a slim majority of voters think the jury finding Trump guilty on 34 charges of falsifying his business records was the right decision, however a sizable portion of those polled think the charges were politically motivated.

“Over half (54%) approve of the 12 jurors’ historic decision to convict the former president on 34 felony charges related to a 2016 hush-money scheme with adult actress Stormy Daniels,” pollsters wrote.

The poll of 2,200 registered voters found that 39% of voters disapprove of the court’s decision, while 8% said they didn’t know enough about the case to offer an opinion. Only 18% of Republicans think the former president committed a crime, compared to 53% of Independents and 91% of Democrats, the poll found.

“In the conviction’s aftermath, Trump has raised familiar cries of a politically motivated campaign against him — not unlike his rhetoric after Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney, indicted Trump in March 2023. That rhetoric continues to resonate with the bulk of the Republican base, but over the past 14 months, the share of the overall electorate who believes Trump committed a crime has grown,” pollsters wrote.

Just over half of voters think the guilty verdicts should bring about the end of Trump’s second try for a second term, including 15% of Republicans and 8% of self-identified Trump supporters, according to the survey. Republican women are slightly more likely to suggest Trump should drop out, according to the poll.

Despite this, most voters don’t think that a prison sentence is an appropriate outcome of Trump’s July 11 sentencing hearing. About 7 in 10 voters think Trump should face a fine for his alleged coverup of a hush-money payment to a porn-star mistress, while just 44% think he should be incarcerated.

“Roughly half of voters — including 18% of Democrats, 49% of independents and 82% of Republicans — said they would oppose the former president’s imprisonment for his 34 class E felonies, which carry a maximum sentence of up to four years in prison each,” pollsters wrote.

Around 7 in 10 “informed” voters told surveyors they would also like to see Trump’s other legal troubles come to a conclusion before the November 5 general election, with 49% saying it is very important and 21% saying it’s somewhat important those cases are dealt with.

“Trump’s criminality is accepted by the bulk of the electorate — and indeed by nearly 1 in 5 voters in his own party. Time will tell whether this will weigh on his campaign. But as roughly 4 in 5 Republican voters say they want him to continue his campaign, politicians on the right face little incentive to try remove him from the political stage — continuing a cycle that has fueled his strength throughout his time atop the party,” pollsters wrote.

According to the poll, if the election were held today between just Trump and Biden — that is excluding Independents Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Cornel West as well as the Green Party’s Jill Stein — Trump would beat Biden 51 – 49.

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