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June 3, 2024

Chart of the Week: How the Donald Trump verdict may impact the US election

by Fathom Consulting.

On 30 May, Donald Trump was found guilty of falsifying documents in the so-called ‘hush-money case’, becoming the first former US president to be convicted of a crime. What impact might Mr Trump’s conviction have on his share of the vote? Data from RealClearPolitics, which takes an average from multiple polls across the US, show a slight (0.3 percentage point) drop in Trump’s lead since he was convicted. While the election is far from decided, the fact that Mr Trump continues to lead in the polls suggests that his conviction may not have a significant impact on his share of the vote. Moderate and swing voters are more likely to have been swayed by the verdict than Republican voters – a Reuters/Ipsos poll taken after the conviction found that 10% of registered Republican voters said they were less likely to vote for Mr Trump after the conviction, compared to 25% of independent voters. However, it does not look like the conviction has had a major negative impact on either group, as 35% of Republicans and 18% of independents said the verdict made it more likely that they would vote for him, and 56% of both groups said it would not affect their votes. Although the conviction has not negatively affected Mr Trump in the national polls, if voters in the swing states choose to vote for President Biden or stay at home, this could lead to Mr Trump’s defeat. This is especially true in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan, where Mr Trump has the smallest lead, and where polling data from FiveThirtyEight show a very small deterioration of his lead since the conviction. It is plausible that people had already made up their minds about the hush-money case before the conviction, so that the effect on people’s votes was already present before the actual conviction – the news first broke in the Wall Street Journal in 2018.

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The views expressed in this article are the views of the author, not necessarily those of LSEG.

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