Republicans remain loyal to Trump

VFor those who follow American politics, one of the most boring pages on the Internet is the website Fivethirtyeight.com. There you can see a graph showing the popularity of Joe Biden and Donald Trump in recent months.

At the same time it is also extremely interesting. Because, how is it possible that Trump’s conviction for accounting fraud, an event that, if the media is taken as a reference point, turned all of America upside down, barely has an impact on that graph?

Since May 30, Trump has been one felon, a convicted felon, someone with a criminal record. In Dutch this all sounds a bit cumbersome, in American English it is short, concise and frequently used: a label that you carry with you all your life, that can ruin your future life because you can’t get a job or a house, and that could also worsen his chances of becoming president of the United States again.

Or not, of course, if your name is Donald Trump. Because that graph stayed remarkably flat.

Voters change their votes

However, something is happening beneath the surface, writes Philip Bump in the Washington Post. He illustrates this with a pair of charts that suggest a wild dance of voters, from Trump to Biden, from Biden to Trump, from both to potential spoilsport Robert F. Kennedy, and from all three to “I’m not voting.” “

In fact, there are voters who saw reasons to change their minds in the jury’s verdict. Nearly one in ten, split evenly between Republicans and Democrats, changed their candidate preference in the survey on which Bump is based, conducted by the company SurveyMonkey for the 19th News website.

The fact that the final percentages of voting intention for Trump or Biden have not changed compared to previous surveys is because they cancel each other out. For example, among voters registered as Republicans, one in twenty said they didn’t know at first but were now going to vote for Trump, while just as many had originally wanted to vote for Trump but now didn’t know. not anymore.

Republicans remain loyal to Trump

So in that survey, voters were asked what they would have liked to vote for first. But what they say about it does not necessarily have to be true. In an op-ed in the New York Times, pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson, who typically works for Republican candidates, wrote that her firm asked 500 voters across the country whether Trump’s conviction had led them to switch candidates. . The overall picture is consistent with other polls: 97 percent of Trump voters remained loyal to him, as did 98 percent of Biden voters. In total, 3 percent had changed candidates, or so they said. Actually, it was different, Anderson knows that. Because this time her company had not randomly called 500 Americans, but 500 who had already been contacted previously. And it turned out that of those 3 percent of defectors, fifteen people, almost no one had actually changed their candidate preference.

On a larger scale, the same trick was also performed by the New York Times and the College of Siena. From participants in several previous surveys up to eight weeks ago, they managed to reach 2,000 people (one in three of the original participants) and ask them again about their choice. In that large group it turned out that Trump had retained 93 percent of his supporters. Of that 7 percent loss, 3 percent said they planned to vote for Biden, while 4 percent were lost. A smaller number of voters no longer liked Biden, which meant Biden was balanced 2 percent ahead of Trump. After which he is still 1 percent behind the convicted felon, as Biden’s Trump campaign organization now likes to call him.

Therefore, the events in the courts help Biden, but not much, and not enough at the moment, as can be seen from the polls in the key states that will make the difference in November, such as Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. These are small differences, in an electorate that still includes about 7 percent who think they will vote, but don’t yet know who.

The vast majority of Republican voters are loyal to Trump, or at least to his party, so their aversion to a felon in the White House, concludes Kristen Anderson. Maybe things will change, she writes, if Trump is sentenced to prison when the judge sentences him on July 11, as tentatively planned. That could make his criminal situation much more serious in the eyes of some Republicans.

Democratic battle of addresses.

Meanwhile, a directional battle rages among Democrats: Should Joe Biden and his spokesmen make the most of Trump’s condemnation? Or should they play politics as usual and primarily emphasize the policies Trump threatens to implement and his own much better ideas?

However, opting for the latter does not mean that the voter will be able to forget that Trump faces conviction. He himself cannot stop talking about it in his speeches and interviews.

Trump and his prominent supporters in the media even openly talk about the day of the ax that will come if he becomes president again, with, for example, the criminal prosecution of his New York prosecutor, Alvin Bragg, and other prominent Democrats. The fact that they continue with what they accuse Democrats of apparently doesn’t matter. “Sometimes revenge is justified,” Trump reflected in an interview with television trainer Dr. Fil.

Democrats, of course, say this is a shame, but they are actually happy with it. During the trial, Trump was relatively invisible in the media, which may have caused some voters to forget how unpredictable he is. They won’t get the chance to do it again in the coming months.

And, like in 2020, Democrats hope, this will win over large numbers of voters who are now on the sidelines or have serious doubts about the 81-year-old Biden. That Fivethirtyeight chart doesn’t have to be boring anymore.

Bas den Hond is a correspondent in the United States and writes a weekly column.

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