Poll: A Significant Number of GOP Voters Might Not Back Trump, Post Conviction

FOLLOWING DONALD TRUMP'S RECENT CONVICTION in his Manhattan-based hush-money and election interference trial, new polling data from a Reuters/Ipsos survey reveals a shift in attitudes among registered voters, including a small but significant portion of Republicans who now may not back the former president in his upcoming rematch with President Joe Biden. 

Trump was found guilty on 34 charges related to making hush-money payments to women he had extramarital affairs with, and using his business to cover them up, thus concealing their existence from voters during the 2016 election. 

Trump has long suggested that a guilty conviction would actually help him in the 2024 presidential race. But while the immediate reaction might demonstrate some Republicans are hardening their support of him, a deeper look into the numbers tells a more nuanced story.

Looking at Republican voters alone, the majority, 56 percent, indicate that the trial's outcome will not affect their voting intentions. Thirty-five percent say they are more likely to vote for Trump following his conviction. 

However, 10 percent of Republicans report they are less likely to vote for him now

As noted by Reuters:

The potential loss of a tenth of his party's voters is more significant for Trump than the stronger backing of more than a third of Republicans, since many of the latter would be likely to vote for him regardless of the conviction.

The impact is even more pronounced among independent voters, which Trump will also need to court if he hopes to defeat Biden. The poll found that, while 56 percent of independents say the conviction will not affect their vote, a quarter (25 percent) are less likely to support Trump. Eighteen percent said they are more likely to back Trump because of the trial. 

This shift among independents could be pivotal in a tightly contested race.

Trump’s legal woes could thus be a double-edged sword. While they may galvanize a segment of his base, they also risk alienating a critical fraction of Republican and independent voters. The upcoming election could hinge on how these dynamics play out, especially in key battleground states where independents often decide the outcome.

What are the polls saying right now? In a hypothetical three-way race including Trump, Biden, and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., polling aggregates from FiveThirtyEight show Trump and Biden in a statistical tie, with Trump holding a slight 1.3-point lead over Biden. This margin is within the error range of the polls, indicating an exceedingly close race. Importantly, this data is mostly from before Trump's conviction on Thursday — indeed, the only two post-conviction polls that have occurred after his trial's conclusion (as of the publication of this blog post) show Biden ahead of Trump.