NEWS

What the first polls after Trump’s conviction show — and don’t show

Analysis: Majorities agree with the verdict against Trump, but early national polling doesn’t find that the race against Biden has been transformed.

News organizations and pollsters released multiple snap surveys over the weekend to gauge the political landscape after a New York jury convicted former President Donald Trump on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in connection with a hush money payment to adult film actor Stormy Daniels.

Here are five takeaways from what the different national surveys told us — and didn’t tell us — after the historic verdict.

1. Majorities agree with the verdict

A CBS News/YouGov poll showed that 57% of adults said the jury in Trump’s trial reached the correct verdict. That finding was backed up by a Morning Consult poll, in which 54% of registered voters said they approved of the verdict, as well as an ABC News/Ipsos survey, in which 50% of adults said the verdict was correct.

Those results are in line with pre-verdict national polls, which consistently showed slight majorities saying that the charges against Trump were serious, and that he was being held to the same standard as anyone else accused of those crimes.

2. Republicans remain firmly behind Trump

The headline of a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Saturday stated that 1 in 10 Republicans said they are less likely to vote for Trump after the verdict. But a fair warning: Those voters are in the clear minority of their party.

In fact, in the same poll, 55% of Republican voters said the verdict didn’t make a difference to their vote, and 34% said it made them more likely to vote for Trump.

 What’s more, the 1 in 10 GOP voters who said they were less likely to vote for Trump were nearly identical to what an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found before the verdict. That survey, conducted May 21-23, showed that 10% of Republicans said they would be less likely to vote for Trump if he was convicted, 25% said they would be more likely and 68% said it would make no difference.

Make no mistake: Even a sliver of Republicans defecting from Trump could be decisive five months from now. But the major takeaway — right now — is how 9 in 10 Republicans are standing behind him in the Reuters/Ipsos poll.

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3. The overall political environment hasn’t changed much

This might be the biggest conclusion so far from the early post-conviction polls. Two of the polls — Reuters/Ipsos and Morning Consult — released the results of the race between President Joe Biden and Trump after the verdict. While the movement in each was in Biden’s direction, it was within the margin of error and looked like other national surveys we’ve seen before the verdict.

  • Reuters/Ipsos poll of registered voters: Biden 41%, Trump 39% (compared to Biden 40%, Trump 40% previously).
  • Morning Consult poll of registered voters: Biden 45%, Trump 44% (compared to Trump 44%, Biden 42% previously).

In addition, the ABC News/Ipsos poll found the favorability ratings for Trump and Biden to be essentially unchanged from an earlier survey in March.

Now, analysts are correct that a permanent 2- or 3-point shift to Biden could also be decisive come November. Still, national polls showing 41% vs. 39% or 44% vs. 42% results don’t tell us who’s going to win — and only suggest that the race is close (especially under the Electoral College system). Plus, Thursday’s guilty verdict is unlikely to be the last major twist in the 2024 presidential election.

4. Swing voters seem to support Trump’s conviction

While the overall political environment appears to be unchanged, these numbers from the ABC News/Ipsos poll bear watching: A slight majority of independents believe (1) that the verdict was correct and (2) that Trump should end his candidacy.

And those opinions are even more pronounced among Americans who have unfavorable views of both Biden and Trump — the so-called double-haters — with about two-thirds of them thinking that the verdict was correct and that Trump should end his candidacy, according to the same poll.

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5. It’s still very early

It’s important to keep in mind: Snap polls conducted after historic events — like the first conviction of a former American president on criminal charges — might not always be the best indicators of what’s likely to come.

Let’s see what all the polls look like in the next week or two.

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