Polls show Americans are warming to Trump hush money prosecutions

Top Republicans are showing up at Donald Trump's criminal trial in Manhattan not only to help him get around his gag order, but also with a message: Not only is this a sham, but it's a sham for all to see.

“Conviction or acquittal – either way, the American people view this as a sham, and rightly so,” one of those Republicans, Senator JD Vance (Ohio), said on Fox News on Tuesday.

“I think everyone in the country can see that [sham] for what it is,” said another House Speaker, Mike Johnson (La.).

A third, Vivek Ramaswamy, added Tuesday night: “I think a lot of Democrats and a lot of independents in this country, watching this process, understand that this is a political sham.”

This actually turns out not to be the case. Polls have consistently shown that Americans, while somewhat skeptical of the proceedings, are not buying Trump's claims of persecution.

And in fact, there is now some evidence that they might move in favor of the prosecution.

Unfortunately, we don't have many recent polls as the Trump trial has picked up pace in recent weeks. But what we do have is something new Yahoo News/YouGov survey that was published Tuesday and showed new highs in the percentages of Americans who believe that:

  • Trump falsified business records to conceal a hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels (52 percent).
  • He thus committed a crime (47 percent).
  • This crime justifies the charge and trial (40 percent).
  • The process deserves their approval (49 percent).

Here's how these numbers have trended since Trump's indictment in March 2023. Note the increases since last month's poll, which was largely conducted before the trial began with jury selection:

Most of these figures are around 50 percent, suggesting that the verdict is still out for many in the court of public opinion. But what's also striking here is how few Americans take the opposite views.

For example, only 22 percent say Trump it didn't falsifying company data. So while in March 2023 Americans said Trump falsified the records by a 19-point margin, they now say so by a 30-point margin.

For Americans to say by a 30-point margin that Trump did what he is accused of doing would at least seem to undermine the idea that this is all a baseless exercise.

Furthermore, only 24 percent say Trump has not falsified data or that he did, but it is not a crime. The margin by which Americans say Trump committed a crime has increased from nine points in March 2023 to 23 points today.

And only 37 percent disapprove of the test. That has been more or less consistent over the past fourteen months, but approval has increased. So, contrary to Vance and Johnson's claims, Americans now approve the indictment and trial by double digits.

Perhaps the most striking new figure concerns Trump's gag order and the prison sentence he faces.

While these Republicans have tried to emphasize the idea that Trump's free speech is under attack — including by saying the very things that got him in trouble — that view doesn't seem to have taken hold in any significant way.

In fact one YouGov poll Last week, The Economist showed that Americans 51 percent to 34 percent said prison would be an appropriate punishment if Trump continued to violate his gag order.

Trump going to jail for violating his gag order would be an insurmountable barrier for his prosecutions — and the apparent impetus for Trump's allies flocking to his trial. But the data we have suggests that Americans would be okay with such a drastic move by a double-digit margin.

These are just a few polls from the same pollster. And it's worth waiting for others, taken after the testimony of Daniels and former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen registered.

It is also worth recognizing that concerns about the fairness of the process remain among many Americans. a New York Times Survey Released Monday, it found that voters in six key states said 49 to 45 percent said they did not think Trump could get a fair trial. a USA Today/Suffolk University poll Last week, the Americans announced 44-39 that they believed that the process up to that point had not been fair.

But these and other polls suggest that some of those concerns come from the left, which is worried about Trump once again getting special treatment and/or dodging responsibility. So it's not all people who are concerned about Trump being targeted. And even if that were the case, that is not a majority view.

This suggests that the story concocted by these Trump surrogates outside the courthouse has not caught on. Americans may not be big fans of this persecution, but they apparently see the basis for it.

That could explain why the surrogates are suddenly so eager to show up and deliver that message — and even saying the kinds of things the judge warned against could taint the proceedings.

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