Trump’s conviction in hush money case approved by about half, new 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. 

Overall views of Trump and President Joe Biden remain unchanged since before the guilty verdict in Trump's New York hush money trial, but the findings also suggest that Trump's conviction is one more weakness among disaffected Republicans.


FILE - Republican presidential candidate, former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during his campaign rally at Sunset Park on June 09, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

While most people in the United States have heard about the conviction, political independents are less likely to be paying attention and more likely to have a neutral opinion of Trump's conviction, indicating that there may still be room for the campaigns to sway them.

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Overall, U.S. adults are more likely to approve of Trump's conviction than they are to disapprove, according to a survey of 1,115 adults nationwide conducted over three days beginning a week after the verdict was delivered May 30, and before Biden's son Hunter was convicted in a federal gun case on Tuesday.

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And while the public is divided about the implications of the conviction for the country and democracy, more think the conviction benefits President Biden’s campaign than Trump’s.

Overall opinions

About 6 in 10 U.S. adults have an unfavorable opinion of Trump, which is in line with findings from an AP-NORC poll conducted in February. Four in 10 have a favorable view of Trump, also largely unchanged since February.

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

Independents are split on Trump overall: About 4 in 10 have a positive view, while a similar share have a negative view. A plurality — nearly half — did not express a strong opinion on the conviction, saying they did not approve or disapprove.

Is Trump going to jail?

Is Donald Trump going to jail? The immediate answer is, no. 

Trump has been out free on bail throughout his trial, and he was able to walk out of court freely while he waits to learn his sentence. His sentencing has been set for July 11. He's already said he'll appeal the verdict. 

Trump was convicted on 34 felony counts, each punishable by up to four years in prison. Technically he'll be eligible for a maximum sentencing of 136 years in prison – though it’d be common and expected for the judge to issue the sentences concurrently, meaning the penalties for all the counts would be served simultaneously and not exceed the maximum of four years in prison. 

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg would not say Thursday if prosecutors intend to seek imprisonment, and it is not clear whether the judge — who earlier in the trial warned of jail time for gag order violations — would impose that punishment even if asked.

Given Trump’s age and the fact that he’s a first-time offender, the likelihood of receiving the maximum sentencing – even if to serve it concurrently – is slim. The judge could also issue a lighter sentence including fines, probation or community service, so jail time may not even be in the cards at all. 

But, if Trump’s sentence does include jail time, it’s likely to be postponed pending the outcome of his appeal.

If Trump’s sentence includes jail time and he loses his appeal, it is possible Trump could go to jail. Though, given the lack of protocol for protecting a former president in a correctional facility, it’s likely some other arrangement would be requested. 

And lastly, given the length of time it takes to resolve an appeal – anywhere from months to years – Trump has a chance at being voted into the White House by then, which could open a whole new legal discussion about if Trump could pardon himself or if a current president could be incarcerated.

This story was reported from Detroit. The Associated Press contributed.