Will Anyone Care if Trump Is a Convicted Felon?

Twelve jurors in New York are preparing to hand down one of the most-anticipated criminal trial verdicts in American history. The decision will be historic, but will it be consequential?

According to an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll released Thursday, more than two-thirds of registered voters say the jury finding Donald Trump guilty of falsifying business records in his hush-money trial won’t make much difference when they cast their ballots for president.

Trump currently faces 34 counts of falsifying business records to allegedly conceal his efforts to influence the 2016 election after his former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, paid porn star Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about her alleged affair with the then-candidate. With jury deliberation kicking off this week, Trump could soon become a convicted felon as he campaigns to retake the White House.

One might think the label would sink anyone’s chances of becoming president, but this doesn’t appear to be the case with Trump — who has already been polling well despite facing four criminal indictments.

The poll released Thursday found only 17 percent of voters would be less likely to vote for Trump if he is convicted, while 15 percent of voters indicated they would be more likely to vote for him if he’s convicted.

The numbers don’t budge even if jurors find Trump not guilty. More than three-fourths of registered voters suggested the lack of a conviction would not change their vote. Nine percent said they would be less likely to vote for him and 14 percent said more likely.

Trump has long been alleging that the trial is a “sham” and “rigged” trial that “should never have been brought in the first place,” while bashing those responsible for taking him away from the campaign trail to sit in court for “this ridiculous case that’s hurting our country so badly.” Trump’s team has been fundraising off of all of his indictments, and is poised to continue to make hay off of a hush-money conviction. Rolling Stone reported this week that they are already preparing fundraising materials around a guilty verdict — which would give Trump even more runway to continue calling the hush-money trial and his other indictments “ELECTION INTERFERENCE.” Trump, without evidence, has pegged all of this squarely on Biden. “It’s going after Joe Biden’s political opponent because he can’t do it himself,” Trump told reporters of the trial on Thursday.

It’s possible that Trump’s grievances are seeping into the public’s appreciation of the trial, but any polling around the issue is best taken with a grain of salt. The Marist poll indicates the verdict might not be so catastrophic for Trump, but Rolling Stone reported in February that top GOP figures have advised Trump that polls showed that a guilty verdict would “torpedo” his chances in battleground states.

Polls have shown Trump and Biden in a close race. The poll released Thursday shows Biden with a two-point lead on Trump, but things get complicated when third-party candidates are added to the mix. The poll found that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. pulled support from Trump and Biden equally, while Cornell West and Jill Stein pulled from Biden.

Seven percent of registered voters plan on voting in November, but will skip the line for president. Only three percent of registered voters are opting to not vote entirely. Of those who plan on voting in November, 73 percent said they have already decided.

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