Trump guilty verdict yet to show significant impact in presidential polls

The historic criminal conviction of Donald Trump dominated media coverage in recent days, but the former president’s legal defeat has so far made only a marginal impact on national polling about his race against President Biden.

Public opinion experts said it will take another week or two to assess the true effect of Trump’s conviction on 34 felony counts of falsifying documents to cover up hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels.

The first national surveys following Trump’s conviction on Thursday continue to show the rematch of the 2020 election in a near dead heat. Also, there have been no post-verdict surveys in the seven hotly contested states likely to decide the election.

Three polls found a majority of Americans agreeing with the verdict, while another showed a narrow majority saying it was “politically motivated.”

In a CBS News poll, 57% of those surveyed said the New York City jury reached the right verdict in finding Trump guilty, with 43% saying it was the wrong verdict. A similar percentage said Trump got a fair trial, with Democratic and Republican partisans sharply divided on that question. Independents said Trump got a fair trial by a margin of 56% to 44%.

Some 52% of registered voters questioned in an Ipsos/Reuters survey said they believed the verdicts were “mainly about enforcing laws fairly and upholding the rule of law,” while 46% said the verdicts were “mainly a politically motivated attempt to prevent Trump from returning to
the White House.” The question was posed on the day of the verdict and one day after.

A Morning Consult survey found 54% of voters approved of the verdict, with a similar share believing Trump committed a crime.

That contrasted with a HarrisX overnight poll following the verdict, in which 51% called the verdict “politically motivated,” compared to 49% who said it was “fair and unbiased.”

The Ipsos/Reuters poll had Biden leading slightly among registered voters, 41% to 39%, while the Morning Consult survey had the president leading 45% to 44%. The HarrisX poll had Trump up 51% to 49%. All of those results are within the margin of error for the polls.

Experts said it remains difficult, five months ahead of the final day of voting Nov. 5, to determine who low-information “swing” voters will support.

“Asking people to predict their behavior in November is asking an awful lot under any circumstances, but especially right now, because there is so much still left to happen, including the debates and the conventions,” said Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette Law School Poll, which will put its next national survey into the field later this month.

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