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Trump verdict would likely move only a small number of votes, poll finds

Trump supporters and their opponents spar outside of the criminal court where the former president is on trial on Wednesday in New York City.
Stephanie Keith
/
Getty Images
Trump supporters and their opponents spar outside of the criminal court where the former president is on trial on Wednesday in New York City.

Most people say the outcome of former President Donald Trump’s hush-money trial in New York will not have an impact on their vote in the 2024 presidential election, but it could have an effect on some key groups, according to the latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll. The full survey results will be released Thursday morning.

Overall, two-thirds (67%) said a guilty verdict would make no difference to their vote; three-quarters (76%) said the same of a not guilty verdict.

Roughly 1 in 6 voters (17%) said a guilty verdict would make them less likely to vote for Trump. That was true of a quarter of nonwhites and 1 in 5 voters who make less than $50,000 a year and those under 45.

Surveys have shown Trump making inroads with younger voters and non-white voters, but that support has often appeared soft, meaning they haven’t fully made up their minds.

A not-guilty verdict would have somewhat of an inverse effect of a guilty verdict. Almost 1 in 5 voters under 45, non-white voters, those who make less than $50,000 a year and others said an acquittal would make them more likely to vote for Trump.

Mike Burr, a Democrat from Georgia, told NPR the trial won’t affect his vote because he’s voting against Trump.

“The trial kind of affirms that I don't think anybody should be voting for Donald Trump,” Burr said. “I don't think Donald Trump is good for the country.”

John Duvall, a Republican from Tennessee, had the opposite view.

“I think it’s a big farce,” Duvall said. “It’s an attack on Donald Trump. … I’ll vote for him more because of what they’re doing, because it’s illegal. If they send him to jail, I’ll still vote for him, because the whole thing is a political attack on him.”

Small, but perhaps important, percentages of core Trump voter groups also said they would be less likely to vote for Trump if he were found guilty — those who live in small towns (17%), whites without college degrees (14%), those who live in rural areas (11%) and Republicans (10%).

Just 11% of independents said a guilty verdict would make them less likely to vote for Trump.

In a race that’s expected to be close, any decline, even at the margins, could have an effect, but the numbers demonstrate just how little the trial is likely to swing many voters at all, no matter the verdict.

Views of both Trump and Biden are simply very locked-in.

Copyright 2024 NPR

Domenico Montanaro is NPR's senior political editor/correspondent. Based in Washington, D.C., his work appears on air and online delivering analysis of the political climate in Washington and campaigns. He also helps edit political coverage.

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