About half believe Trump should serve prison time for his felony conviction in the hush money case

Opinions on Trump’s conviction remained stable in recent weeks. The public is more likely to approve of Hunter Biden’s conviction and think he should receive a prison sentence.

July 8, 2024

The public is divided over whether Donald Trump should be sentenced to prison for his felony conviction for falsifying business records in the hush money case.  Opinions on the conviction itself have remained stable in the weeks since the decision was announced on May 30 with nearly half approving of the jury’s decision and about a quarter disapproving. The public is also divided on whether Trump has received fair treatment from the legal system.

President Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, was convicted on June 11 for lying about drug use when purchasing a gun. The public is more likely to approve of the conviction in this case and to say Hunter Biden should receive a prison sentence. 

Views about both convictions are highly correlated with partisanship. Most Republicans think Trump has been mistreated by the legal system, disapprove of his conviction, and do not want to see the former president serve prison time. Democrats largely feel the opposite. 

Regarding Hunter Biden’s conviction, Republicans are more likely than Democrats to agree with the conviction and think Biden’s son should be sentenced to prison. Still 6 in 10 Democrats approve of his conviction and about half say he should have to serve time. 

While overall the public is evenly divided on whether Trump should be sentenced to prison, most Democrats think he should, but most Republicans think he should not.

About half of adults continue to approve of Trump’s conviction and 27% disapprove. In June 2024, 48% approved and 29% disapproved. Democrats remain more likely than Republicans to approve of the conviction.

There is little consensus on whether Trump has been treated fairly by the jurors, judge, or prosecutors in the case. About 4 in 10 are confident that he received fair treatment, but a nearly identical share disagrees. Partisanship is influencing perceptions of fairness in the case with a large majority of Democrats confident he received fair treatment and a large majority of Republicans in disagreement.

In comparison, most adults approve of Hunter Biden’s federal conviction for lying about his drug use when purchasing a gun, including majorities of both Democrats and Republicans, and fewer than 1 in 10 disapprove.

Almost 6 in 10 believe Hunter Biden should serve time in prison, including about half of Democrats.

Most of the public have been paying attention to these two high-profile convictions in recent weeks. Nearly 8 in 10 report they heard or read about Trump’s conviction, including 4 in 10 who have heard or read a lot.  And 60% have heard or read at least something about Hunter Biden’s conviction, including 26% who have heard or read a lot.  Democrats are more likely to have paid attention to the cases involving Trump and both Democrats and Republicans paid more attention to the case involving Biden than independents.

The nationwide poll was conducted June 20-24, 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 1,088 adults. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4.0 percentage points.

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