About half approve of Trump’s conviction in the hush money case

The public is divided about the implications of the conviction for the country and democracy. More U.S. adults think the conviction benefits President Biden’s campaign than Trump’s.

June 12, 2024

Donald Trump became the first former American president to be convicted of felony charges when a New York jury found him guilty of falsifying business records in the case stemming from a hush money payment to a woman who said he had an affair with her.   

About half of the public approves of Trump’s conviction on the felony charges, while 3 in 10 disapprove. The public is closely divided on whether his conviction by a Manhattan jury was motivated by politics.

The public is more likely to say Trump’s conviction benefits President Biden’s campaign than the Trump 2024 campaign. There is little consensus on whether the first conviction of a former president is a positive or a negative for either the country’s democratic system or the country as a whole. 

A large portion of the country is paying attention to Trump’s conviction. Eighty percent of adults report reading or hearing at least something about the felony convictions, including 43% who say they’ve read or heard a lot. Just 4% report they haven’t been attending to the news at all. Partisans on both sides of the aisle are more likely to be paying attention to the conviction than independents.

Opinions about Trump’s conviction are highly influenced by partisanship.  Most Republicans disapprove of his conviction and consider it to be driven by politics.  Democrats tend to approve of the conviction and disagree that there were any political motivations. About half of independents lack an opinion and say they neither approve nor disapprove of the conviction.  

The public is closely divided over whether Trump’s conviction was motivated by politics with large differences related to party identification.  Eighty-three percent of Republicans consider the conviction politically motivated, while 77% of Democratics say it was not.

A similar question asked in an April 2023 AP-NORC poll soon after Trump was indicted by a Manhattan grand jury found that 57% of adults regarded his prosecution as politically motivated. Again partisanship was strongly connected to views about his indictment. In April 2023, 86% of Republicans said the indictment was politically motivated and 66% of Democrats said it was not. 

Four in 10 think that Trump’s conviction is a good thing for Biden’s presidential campaign, while 3 in 10 think it benefits Trump’s 2024 campaign. More believe the conviction is bad than good for the country overall, and people are divided over its impact on the U.S. democratic system.

Democrats are more likely to view Trump’s conviction as a positive thing for the U.S. democratic system, the country overall, and Biden’s campaign. More Republicans see the conviction as positive for Trump’s campaign than negative.

Views of Trump remain stable compared to before the trial.  Forty percent have favorable opinion of the former president, and 56% have a negative view.  An AP-NORC poll taken in February found practically the same results: 38% favorable and 58% unfavorable.

Opinions about of Biden, Trump, Kamala Harris, and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. are highly partisan. In the latest poll, 7 in 10 Democrats have a favorable opinion of Biden and Harris. In comparison, 86% of Republicans hold a negative opinion of Biden and 78% are unfavorable toward Harris. 

Three-quarters of Republicans report having a positive opinion of Donald Trump, while 90% of Democrats have a negative opinion. Republicans are also more likely than Democrats to have a favorable view of Kennedy (46% vs. 28%), but about a quarter of both report that they don’t know enough to about the independent candidate to have an opinion.

The nationwide poll was conducted June 7-10, 2024 using the AmeriSpeak® Panel, the probability-based panel of NORC at the University of Chicago. Online and telephone interviews using landlines and cell phones were conducted with 1,115 adults. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4.0 percentage points.

  • Suggested Citation: AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. (June 2024). https://apnorc.org/projects/about-half-approve-of-trumps-conviction-in-the-hush-money-case/

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