Half of U.S. Adults Approve of Trump’s Felony Conviction as Election Nears, AP-NORC Poll Finds

Feature and Cover Half of U S Adults Approve of Trump’s Felony Conviction as Election Nears AP NORC Poll Finds

About half of U.S. adults approve of Donald Trump’s recent felony conviction, according to a poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The survey reveals both potential vulnerabilities and resilience in Trump’s support as he aims to become the first American with a felony record to win the presidency.

With less than five months until Election Day, the poll depicts a nation with firmly entrenched views of the divisive former Republican president. Overall opinions of Trump and Democratic President Joe Biden remain unchanged since Trump’s guilty verdict in his New York hush money trial.

However, the findings also suggest Trump’s conviction is a weakness among disaffected Republicans. While most Americans are aware of the conviction, political independents are less likely to be paying attention and more likely to have a neutral opinion of Trump’s conviction, indicating campaigns may still sway them.

Nancy Hauser, a 74-year-old independent from West Palm Beach, Florida, approves of Trump’s conviction based on the little she followed of the trial. The verdict suggests to her that Trump may engage in criminal activity if back in the White House. “I feel if you’ve been convicted of a crime, especially a felony, a serious crime, how can you run a country?” she said. However, she also has concerns about Biden, especially his age and leadership on the economy and the war in Israel. Biden is 81, while Trump turns 78 on Friday. “I’m not sure who I’m voting for,” Hauser said. “That’s the sad part.”

Overall, U.S. adults are more likely to approve of Trump’s conviction than disapprove, according to a survey of 1,115 adults nationwide conducted over three days beginning a week after the verdict was delivered on May 30, and before Biden’s son Hunter was convicted in a federal gun case on Tuesday. About 3 in 10 somewhat or strongly disapprove of Trump’s conviction, and about 2 in 10 neither approve nor disapprove. Registered voters’ perspectives were similar, with about half saying the conviction was the right choice.

Republicans are less united on the verdict than Democrats. Roughly 6 in 10 Republicans somewhat or strongly disapprove of the conviction, while 15% of Republican adults approve, and about 2 in 10 Republicans neither approve nor disapprove. In contrast, more than 8 in 10 Democrats somewhat or strongly approve.

About half of Americans say the conviction was politically motivated, while a similar share think it was not. Nearly half of Republicans who have an unfavorable view of Trump do not see the conviction as politically motivated, compared with less than 1 in 10 Republicans who have a positive opinion of him.

Overall opinions of Trump have barely changed. About 6 in 10 U.S. adults have an unfavorable opinion of Trump, consistent with an AP-NORC poll from February. Four in 10 have a favorable view of Trump, also largely unchanged since February.

The numbers for Biden are equally poor: 4 in 10 U.S. adults have a favorable view of the Democratic president, while about 6 in 10 have a negative one.

Ron Schwartz, a 59-year-old moderate Republican from Dallas, said Trump was “probably guilty” of the alleged crimes, though he believes politics played a major role in the case. He thinks the charges should not have been felonies, a crime level that blocks those convicted from owning guns or voting in many states. Still, Schwartz plans to vote for Trump, as he did in the past two presidential elections, despite serious concerns about the former president’s character. “I think he’s a disgusting human being,” Schwartz said. “But he has some good policies and good ideas.”

Independents are split on Trump overall: About 4 in 10 have a positive view, while a similar share have a negative view. Nearly half did not express a strong opinion on the conviction, saying they neither approve nor disapprove.

Cassi Carey, a 60-year-old independent from suburban Milwaukee, said the conviction does not reflect well on Trump, though she acknowledges she was not paying close attention to the specifics. “I think Trump is a terrible choice for our country because of his divisiveness,” Carey said. She also lamented Biden’s advanced age, who turns 82 in November. “Someday in my lifetime, I want very much to be able to vote for a candidate and not against a candidate,” she said.

Overall, Americans are more likely to see Trump’s conviction as bad for the nation. About 4 in 10 adults describe it as a bad thing for the country, while about one-third say it was a good thing, and about 2 in 10 say it is neither. Regarding the U.S. democratic system, about 4 in 10 say the conviction is a good thing, with roughly the same share calling it a bad thing.

Trump continues to be overwhelmingly disliked by Democrats: 9 in 10 Democrats have an unfavorable view of him, with roughly 8 in 10 saying their opinion is “very unfavorable.” Democrat Oscar Baza, a 29-year-old Mexican immigrant from Los Angeles, said he approves of the Trump verdict, which he sees as evidence of “the judicial process working as it should.” “I just think it’s really worrisome that he’s on the ballot,” Baza said. “If you’ve been convicted of 34 counts of anything, you probably shouldn’t be leading anything; you should be going to therapy.”

The AP-NORC poll indicates that while Trump’s conviction has polarized opinions further, it has not significantly shifted overall views on him or Biden. Both candidates face challenges with their respective unfavorable ratings, and the upcoming election will likely see efforts to sway the undecided, particularly among independents.

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