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Trump Verdict Fallout: Moving the Middle Is All That Matters

How the folks in the middle are reacting to the Trump conviction.

It’s only been a few days since a Manhattan jury brought forth a speedy and stunning guilty verdict convicting former President Donald Trump on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. Since that time, the political class has run amok. Republicans are closing ranks in support of 45 while many Democrats are rejoicing in what they perceive as justice served. However, the real issue is not where the party faithful stand amid all this hullabaloo but where the independents will fall. Will they lean in to the beleaguered former president or distance themselves from him?

A few flash polls made headlines right after the verdict was announced. One survey spoke to just over 400 likely voters. That would be a yay for “likely” because these people are a better barometer of the political weather than those who fall under the heading “registered” voters. But a yuck for the sample size: 403 people surveyed is a better number for an oversized wedding than a political poll. The word “flash” could almost be synonymous with a flash in the pan, which is nothing more than a transient phase with little or no long-term effect.

Then there was the YouGov flash poll, which got high marks for its sample size (3,000) but violated a credibility standard by interviewing “adults,” so there’s no way of knowing how many are registered or likely voters. Thus, the integrity of both public opinion flash surveys is questionable, which is why – as Liberty Nation reported – they should be taken with a grain of salt.

Since these flash polls, there have been four more reliable surveys: I&I/TIPP, Morning Consult,  Forbes/HarrisX, and Reuters/Ipsos. Morning Consult had the current president up by one point, and Forbes/HarrisX had Trump up by 2 points in both a two-way and five-way race. Reuters had Biden up by two, and the I&I/TIPP had the heavyweights tied in a two-way and again in a five-way race. But we’re not interested in those above-line numbers because, like a treasure hunt, the real poll gold is often found buried in the deep waters known as the cross tabs.

At this point in the presidential contest, what really matters is not the prize fight between Ali and Frazier or even where it stands with the three others — Robert F. Kennedy, Jill Stein, and Cornel West – but with the voters who have yet to pitch their tent in either camp. And that takes us to the land of the independent.

Trump Verdict — Swaying the Indies

The independents strut their stuff in the I&I/TIPP survey, showing Trump with the knockout punch. In a head-to-head match-up, independents favor the former president by – sit up and take notice – 38% to 26%. The history of this poll is worth mentioning because in May Trump pulled in only 33% of the independents.

Another gauge of political strength is the enthusiasm factor (pollsters call it support intensity). This number takes into account those who are willing to say they strongly support a candidate. Again, Trump takes home the blue ribbon, with 65% to Biden’s 50%. According to the editor of Issues & Insights, Terry Jones, the upshot of the survey is “Trump does not seem to be politically damaged by his legal troubles. He may even be politically stronger.”

The Pendulum Swings the Other Way

The Morning Consult poll found yet another surprising shift, with “nearly half of Independents” saying they want former President Donald Trump to drop his 2024 campaign … ”*  HarrisX conducted an overnight survey of 1,006 registered voters and found 22% of independents were more likely to vote for Trump following his conviction in New York. However, another 28% said they were less likely to pull the lever for The Donald. Finally, the Reuters Ipsos poll found that 16% of independents are more likely to vote for Trump with the conviction factored in. Another 26% said they were less likely to cast their ballot for him.

It doesn’t appear that those on the left and right have budged since the Trump verdict; however, three of the four standard polls indicate that independents are moving away from voting for 45, and the Trump campaign should take notice and adjust its message accordingly. To be sure, the independent voter can be fickle. One post on X summed it up quite well. Someone called SteeJo wrote: “Expecting to see an editorial titled “I’m an Independent who believes Trump’s guilty verdict should make him drop out of the race, but if he doesn’t I’ll vote for him any moment now.”

*We were unable to confirm this information because Morning Consult cross tabs are behind a security wall, which requires the outlet to be contacted for permission to view its data sets.

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