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57% of Americans – a new high – say Trump’s alleged crimes are ‘serious’ as hush money trial begins

As the first criminal trial of a former US president opens this week in Manhattan, more Americans than ever before (57%) say the underlying crimes of which defendant Donald Trump has been accused – “falsifying business records to make hush money payments to a porn star” – are “serious,” according to a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll.

That number is up six percentage points from the last time Yahoo News and YouGov asked about the hush money case in December 2023. The previous high was 54% in September 2023.

The survey of 1,746 US adults, conducted from April 11 to 15, also found that the perceived seriousness of Trump’s other alleged crimes was similar:

  • Nearly three-quarters of Americans (73%, a new high) now say “conspiracy to overturn the outcome of a presidential election” is a serious crime, up from 66% in December.

  • As many as 69% (another new high) now say that “taking highly classified White House documents and obstructing efforts to retrieve them” is a serious crime, up from 63% in December.

  • And the same share (69%) now say “attempts to obstruct the certification of a presidential election” is a serious crime, up from 64% in December.

As before, Americans continue to view the hush-money charges as less serious than the other crimes for which Trump has been charged, likely reflecting the seriousness of those other charges, the salacious details of the Manhattan trial, and the ongoing legal debate over the strength of these charges . The case of District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

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But the fact that a clear and growing majority of Americans think the hush-money allegations are serious—nearly twice as many as the number who say the allegations are “not serious” (30%)—suggests that Trump’s legal danger may start to seem more ‘real’. ‘ now that his first trial is finally underway.

Most Americans are not yet convinced that Trump should be convicted

At this point, there is still a wide gap between the rising number of Americans who view the crimes themselves as serious in nature — when described in general terms, without mentioning Trump — and the relatively stable number who believe the former president actually it should be. convicted in court. For example:

  • 48% of Americans believe Trump did in fact falsify company records to conceal a hush money payment to a porn star, as of April 2023.

  • 42% think Trump broke the law by falsifying those company records, up slightly from 41% a year ago.

  • And 37% now think Trump falsified data, believe his actions amounted to a crime and consider that crime “serious enough to warrant indictment and trial,” down from 38% a year ago.

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Bragg’s job in the coming weeks will be to convince a jury — and by extension, a larger portion of the American public — that Trump’s actions warrant a conviction. Currently, more Americans say they are unsure whether the former president falsified company records to conceal a hush money payment (29%) than say he did not (23%). The uncertainty is great.

In light of the tribalism and polarization that plagues American politics, any form of broad consensus is unlikely. Fully 44% of Americans say the motivation behind Bragg’s indictment is “political bias against Trump,” while 41% say it is “a sincere desire to hold Trump accountable.”

Even more people (51%) say they think the Trump hush money charge is unfair, given Bragg’s ties to the Democratic Party. 23% say it’s unfair “but that’s how our system works” and 28% say it’s “unfair and it should be that way.” not allowed.”

These numbers are essentially unchanged from a year ago.

Possible political danger for Trump

Still, a conviction could shake Trump’s political position. Only a third of Americans (33%) and just 14% of Republicans think the former president will be “found guilty” in the hush-money case — meaning such a verdict would surprise and potentially unsettle many voters.

Meanwhile, a majority of Americans believe that Trump should not serve as president again if he is convicted in the hush money case (51%) – a number that also includes 16% of Republicans. Only 34% of Americans say he should be allowed to serve again if convicted in the Manhattan case.

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Finally, there is the number of Americans who believe Trump should not serve again if convicted each serious crime (57%) is rising (up from 55% last month), while the number saying they should be back in prison (29%) is down (up from 31% last month).

Fully 65% ​​now say it is important “that voters get a verdict in Trump’s trials before the 2024 general election” – compared to just 25% who say it is not important.


The Yahoo News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,746 U.S. adults who were interviewed online from April 11 to 15, 2024. The sample was weighted by gender, age, race, education, election turnout of 2020 and presidential elections, grassroots party. identification and current voter registration status. The demographic weighting targets are from the 2019 American Community Survey. The base party identification is the respondent’s most recent answer, given before November 1, 2022, and is weighted by the estimated distribution at that time (33% Democratic, 27% Republican ). Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all U.S. adults. The margin of error is approximately 2.6%.

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