Most Americans believe Trump has committed a crime, but far fewer think he'll ever be convicted

Linley SandersData Journalist
Carl BialikU.S. Politics Editor and Vice President of Data Science
Taylor OrthDirector of Survey Data Journalism
March 31, 2023, 8:37 PM GMT+0

On Thursday, former President Donald Trump was indicted by a grand jury in New York City in a case that has focused on his role in using money in 2016 to cover up his alleged affair with porn star Stormy Daniels. The formal indictment and its charges remain sealed, but a YouGov poll of 2,559 U.S. adults conducted the day after his indictment finds increases since the prior week in the share of Americans who think Trump is likely to ever be convicted of a crime and of Republicans who believe he ever has committed a crime.

While a majority of Americans (66%) believe Trump has definitely or probably committed a crime at some point, fewer than half (41%) think he will probably ever be convicted, and about one-quarter (23%) say he will probably at some point serve time in prison.

Two of the questions asked the day after his indictment were also asked in a poll conducted 11 days earlier, on March 20. This provides us with a window into how Americans' perceptions of the former president have changed after news broke of his indictment.

Since Trump's indictment, more Republicans believe Trump has engaged in criminal behavior: 48% now say he's definitely or probably committed a crime, up from 41% before his indictment. Democrats' opinions about whether he has committed a crime have changed little over this period.

More Americans now believe Trump will face a conviction than did just prior to his indictment: Now, 41% think he definitely or probably will be convicted, up from 33% who said so a week before news of his indictment was reported. Among Democrats, the increase was 9 percentage points and among Republicans, it was 10 points.

Just 23% of Americans think Trump will definitely or probably serve time in prison, including 36% of Democrats and 19% of Republicans. People who believe Trump definitely or probably committed a crime are more likely than those who don't to think the former president will definitely or probably face prison time (33% vs. 8%).

Methodology: This survey was conducted online on March 31, 2023 among 2,559 U.S. adults. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, U.S. census region, and political party.

Image: Getty (Anna Moneymaker)

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