Trump Verdict Changed Few Minds, Polls Show

With the number of undecided voters relatively low, campaigns are likely to shift focus to voter mobilization.

Former President Donald Trump’s conviction on 34 felony counts in New York has changed few minds about the 2024 presidential election according to a spate of recent polls.

While the former president appears to have fallen slightly in at least one national poll, his popularity has increased in three states, including the critical battlegrounds of Arizona and Nevada.

Overall, most voters appear to have the same opinion about both major candidates that they had when the trial began on April 15. That bodes worse for President Joe Biden than for former President Trump, analysts say, but could indicate low voter interest, prompting a shift in strategy for both campaigns.

Little Change Overall

When former President Trump’s New York trial began on April 15, he held a 0.8 percent lead over President Biden in an average of national polls compiled by FiveThirtyEight. RealClearPolitics polling averages showed a 0.3 percent Trump lead.

In a June 6 average of polls, exactly one week after the trial verdict, FiveThirtyEight polling averages showed a 1.2 percent lead for former President Trump, while RealClearPolitics showed a 0.5 percent lead.

A more granular post-verdict poll conducted by The New York Times and Siena College included responses from 2,000 voters who had previously been polled, to learn how their opinions had changed.

This poll concluded that former President Trump’s national popularity had fallen about 2 percent but that he still maintained a 1 percent lead over President Biden. Overall, 93 percent of those who supported former President Trump before his trial continued to do so after.

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Of the 7 percent who changed their minds, 3 percent said they now support President Biden and 4 percent are now undecided. About 20 percent of those who said they are no longer Trump supporters were voters often referred to as “double haters,” meaning that they strongly dislike both candidates.

“I’m hard-pressed to find any evidence in the polls that the conviction has made much of a difference at all in the public, in the presidential ballot test,” pollster Neil Newhouse told The Epoch Times.

Even for those who were swayed, the effect could be short-lived.

“We’re still five months out from the election. This is going to be completely overshadowed in two weeks by the presidential debate,” Mr. Newhouse said.

President Biden and former President Trump will square off in their first presidential debate on June 27. A second debate is set for Sept. 10.

Patricia Crouse, a political science professor at The University of New Haven in Connecticut, says the debates are more likely to impact undecided voters than any of the former president’s criminal trials.

“[Those matters] aren’t as important to voters as issues like abortion, and the economy, and immigration,” Ms. Crouse told The Epoch Times.

Battleground States Move Toward Trump

Former President Trump has maintained a moderate lead in three states that are likely to figure prominently in the 2024 electoral vote: Arizona, Nevada, and Virginia.

Polls of registered voters from June 1–4 revealed that the former president’s recent conviction in his New York trial “does not matter,” according to 65 percent of voters in Nevada and 63 percent in Arizona.

As of June 6, former President Trump led President Biden in both states by 5 percentage points, about the same margin as when the trial began.

In Virginia, a Fox News poll found that President Biden and former President Trump were tied in public opinion following the verdict, each polling at 48 percent. In a hypothetical five-way contest including independent candidates Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Cornel West and Green Party nominee Jill Stein, former President Trump would hold a 1 percent advantage.

In 2020, President Biden won both Arizona by 0.4 percent, Nevada by 2.4 percent, and Virginia by more than 10 percent. This apparent shift should be a concern for President Biden, Ms. Crouse said.

“Those are states that probably will determine the outcome of the election,” she said. “And I think that’s something he needs to focus on.”

Persuasion Versus Turnout

About 43 percent of registered voters are independents, meaning they are registered with no political party. Republicans and Democrats each account for 27 percent of registered voters.

Given those percentages, the party that draws the most independent voters usually wins. But that may not hold true this year because the number of truly undecided voters appears to be relatively small while so-called “double haters” abound.

“I don’t believe there are that many persuadable voters out there,” Mr. Newhouse said. “I think the turnout is going to be lower because people are frustrated with their choices.”

Some 19 percent of all registered voters have an unfavorable view of both major candidates according to a Marquette Law School poll. Morning Consult and The New York Times/Siena College polls found nearly identical results.

Both major candidates have seen sizable protest votes in the ongoing primary elections even though they clinched their respective parties’ nominations months ago.

In the case of former President Trump, up to 20 percent of voters in some Republican primaries have cast ballots for Nikki Haley, after she withdrew from the race on March 6.

Thousands of voters in Democrat primaries have voted “uncommitted” or for a candidate other than President Biden.

“A lot of voters have simply been turned off by all of this,” Ms. Crouse said. “So I think that there is a concern about voter turnout. And I think that’s an area where both campaigns need to make a better effort.”

Former President Trump spread that message on June 6 in a town hall meeting in Phoenix.

“We have to get the evangelicals. We have to get the gun owners. We have to get these people to vote. And if they vote, nobody can beat us,” he said.

The Republican Party has embraced voting by mail this year in the states where it’s allowed. That’s a change from 2020 when Democrats capitalized on mail-in voting while Republicans discouraged it.

Yet while many voters are dissatisfied with both candidates, they are also dissatisfied with the direction of the country and therefore more likely to vote, according to Jimmy Lee of Susquehanna Polling.

“All the polling we’ve done shows between 5 and 10 percent of the electorate claims they’re still undecided,” Mr. Lee told The Epoch Times. “I believe that the election will be decided by those late-breaking undecided voters, because the race will be razor tight, in my opinion, in most of the battleground states.”

“They’re waiting for something that connects with them at a deeply personal level,” he said.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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