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New poll reveals how Trump trial verdict will impact 2024 election

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A new national poll is the latest to indicate that regardless of whether former President Trump is found guilty or acquitted in his criminal trial, the verdict will not have a large impact on voters’ perceptions in his 2024 election rematch with President Biden.

Two-thirds of registered voters nationwide questioned in a NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist National Poll released on Thursday said a guilty verdict in the trial would make no difference to their vote in the presidential election. Seventeen percent said a conviction of Trump would make them less likely to vote for him and 15% said they’d be more inclined to support the former president at the ballot box.

If Trump is acquitted, three-quarters of those surveyed said it wouldn’t impact their vote. Fourteen percent said a not guilty verdict would make them more likely to back Trump, and 9% said they’d be less likely to vote for the former president.

Trump currently holds a slight edge over the president both in national polling and in public opinion surveys in most of the crucial battleground states that will likely decide their rematch.

But the pending verdict in the historic case – Trump is charged with 34 state felony charges in what is the first criminal trial in the nation’s history for a former or current president – could impact what’s shaping up to be a close contest with Biden.

Trump is charged with falsifying business records in relation to payments during the 2016 election that he made to Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about his alleged affair with the adult film actress. Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, paid Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, $130,000 in return for her silence about allegations of an affair with Trump in 2006. Prosecutors have argued that this amounted to illegally seeking to influence the 2016 election.

Both Cohen and Daniels testified for the prosecution and were grilled by Trump’s attorneys during cross-examination in a case that has grabbed tons of attention on the cable news networks, online and on social media.

The former president has repeatedly denied falsifying business records as well as the alleged sexual encounter with Daniels, and he has repeatedly claimed, without providing evidence, that the case is a ‘SHAM TRIAL instigated and prosecuted directly from the inner halls of the White House and DOJ.’

Trump has also been fined a couple of times and threatened with jail by the judge in the case for violating a gag order aimed at protecting witnesses and jurors from the former president’s verbal attacks.

Veteran pollster Chris Anderson, a member of the Fox News Election Decision Team and the Democratic partner on the Fox News Poll, said he did not think ‘a guilty verdict would fundamentally change the landscape of the race.’

Daron Shaw, a politics professor and chair at the University of Texas who also serves as a member of the Fox News Decision Team and the Republican partner on the Fox News Poll, noted that ‘prior to 2020, no one would have thought that a candidate could survive a criminal conviction.’

‘But times and circumstances have evolved. And while the specific findings of the jury could matter, I think there is a sense that a conviction in this case would not appreciably change the dynamics of the race,’ Shaw emphasized.

Both pointed to the fact that ‘attitudes are so set in concrete’ regarding both the former Republican president and his Democratic successor in the White House.

The Marist Poll for NPR and PBS NewsHour was conducted May 21-23, with 1,122 registered voters nationwide. The survey’s overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.

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