Analysis: Case Against Trump Rallies Partisans but Swing Voters Say a Verdict Makes No Difference in November

President Donald Trump in New York City
by Manzanita Miller


The criminal case against former President Donald Trump for allegedly falsifying business records does not appear to be boosting President Joe Biden’s chances in November, with Biden’s once narrow lead over Trump disappearing in new polls.

The trial appears to be largely impacting partisans, with Republicans saying they are more likely to support the former president and Democrats saying the opposite. However, the vast majority of independents and swing voters say the trial verdict will have no impact on their vote in November.

The latest Quinnipiac University poll shows Biden and Trump tied at 46 percent of the vote each, a departure from Biden’s modest three-point lead in the same poll in March. In March, Biden led Trump 48 percent to 45 percent, but despite Trump’s ongoing criminal trial Biden’s edge has disappeared.

By a one-point margin, Americans believe Trump acted illegally in falsifying business records according to the poll, but the impact this has on Trump’s chances varies widely. According to the poll, 46 percent of Americans say Trump acted illegally, while 18 percent believe he did nothing wrong, and 27 percent believe he acted unethically but did nothing illegal.

However, the vast majority of voters – whether they support Trump or not – say if Trump is handed a guilty verdict that will have no impact on their vote in November. Sixty-two percent of the public says a conviction would make no difference in their vote, while 21 percent say a conviction would make them less likely to support the former president, and 15 percent say they’d be more likely to support Trump if he is convicted.

In other words, Trump being handed a ‘not guilty’ verdict is unlikely to court those who already have no intention of voting for him, nor is a ‘guilty’ verdict likely to dissuade those who plan to vote for him. However, around a fifth of voters would be less likely to support him if he is found guilty and less than a fifth would be more likely to support him.

Independent voters are some of the least likely to allow the verdict against Trump to impact their vote, with 71 percent saying a conviction would not impact their vote either way. Republicans largely say a conviction would not impact their vote (57 percent), but 33 percent would be more likely to support Trump and nine percent would be less likely.

Another group which appears unfazed by a Trump conviction is college-educated voters, who Trump does not poll well with in the first place. Sixty-nine percent of these voters say the outcome of the trial will not impact their vote.

Millennials and Gen X voters are the least likely to say the outcome of the case against Trump will impact their vote, with 74 percent (the largest of any sub-group) saying the outcome of the trial will make no difference on their vote in November. A plurality of both younger and older age groups say the verdict will not impact their vote, but at lower rates than Millennials and Gen X voters.

While whites (64 percent) are more likely than Blacks (59 percent) and Hispanics (61 percent) to say a Trump conviction would change their vote in November, broad pluralities of minority groups say a conviction will not change their intentions in November.

This is important information, considering independents, Millennials / Gen X voters, and minorities are some of the most pivotal swing voter groups which Biden has been suffering steep losses with. The Trump trial is a non-variable for most swing voters. While the trial is rallying some Republicans toward the former president even more, and turning off a share of Democrats who for the most part were not intending to support him anyway, the trial is having minimal impact on swing voters.

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Manzanita Miller is an associate analyst at Americans for Limited Government Foundation.
Image “Donald Trump in New York” by Donald Trump.



Reprinted with permission from

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