On Friday, President Donald Trump signed a pardon for Alice Johnson, a woman who had served 22 years out of a life sentence for non-violent, drug-related charges. The pardon came after Johnson shared her story at the 2020 Republican National Convention and thanked Trump for his compassion in commuting her sentence two years earlier.
The Trump campaign shared a 47-second clip of Johnson’s story on Friday, touting his record on criminal justice reform. The advertisement opens with the text: “Alice Johnson was sentenced to life in prison for a nonviolent drug offense. Thanks to President Trump, people like Alice are getting a second chance.”
The video continues with Johnson’s voice saying: “I’m free to hug my family. I’m free to start over. This is the greatest day of my life. My heart is just bursting with gratitude. I want to thank President Donald John Trump.” It switches to the president standing at a podium, saying, “Almost all people said that criminal justice reform would never pass, but we came together as a group, we worked across party lines and we got it done.”
Johnson’s case gained national attention after Kim Kardashian West petitioned the president to grant her clemency.
The YouGov snap poll asked 1,000 registered voters to watch the “Alice Johnson” video and share their opinions on its tone. All voters were asked to put aside their own political affiliation while evaluating the clip. Three-quarters of registered voters classified the advertisement as positive (74%), two-thirds called it effective (64%), most called it inspiring (59%), and half called it honest (49%).
Nearly all Republicans (97%) called the advertisement positive, and most Democrats agree (58%). At least nine in 10 Republicans call the video effective (96%), inspiring (91%), and honest (91%). Though a majority of Democrats agree that the advertisement is positive, they also say that it is dishonest (57%) and ineffective (51%).
However, the video seems effective in at least one metric already — it increased Independents’ positive opinion of President Trump by eight points (42% to 50%). Positive opinion increased five points among Democrats (9% to 14%) and registered voters overall (44% to 49%). The video decreased Republicans’ negative view of Trump by four points (9% to 5%).
Methodology: This article is based on a flash poll of 1,000 registered voters surveyed via YouGov Direct on August 28, 2020 between 4:00 p.m. and 6:16 p.m. This YouGov Direct Poll was weighted according to age, gender, race, education, and 2016 presidential vote. The margin of error is ±3.8%