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One in 10 Republicans less likely to vote for Trump after guilty verdict, poll finds

The verdict could shake up the race between former President Trump and incumbent President Joe Biden ahead of the Nov. 5 election.

Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump attends a press conference, the day after a guilty verdict in his criminal trial over charges that he falsified business records to conceal money paid to silence porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016, at Trump Tower in New York City, U.S., May 31, 2024. / REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Ten percent of Republican registered voters say they are less likely to vote for Donald Trump following his felony conviction for falsifying business records to cover up a hush money payment to a porn star, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll that closed on May.31.

The two-day poll, conducted in the hours after the Republican presidential candidate's conviction by a Manhattan jury on May.30, also found that 56 percent of Republican registered voters said the case would have no effect on their vote and 35 percent said they were more likely to support Trump, who has claimed the charges against him are politically motivated and has vowed to appeal. 

The potential loss of a tenth of his party's voters is more significant for Trump than the stronger backing of more than a third of Republicans, since many of the latter would be likely to vote for him regardless of the conviction.

Among independent registered voters, 25 percent said Trump's conviction made them less likely to support him in November, compared to 18 percent who said they were more likely and 56 percent who said the conviction would have no impact on their decision.

The verdict could shake up the race between Trump, who was U.S. president from 2017-2021, and Democratic President Joe Biden ahead of the Nov. 5 election. U.S. presidential elections are typically decided by thin margins in a handful of competitive swing states, meaning that even small numbers of voters defecting from their candidates can have a big impact.

Biden and Trump remain locked in a tight race, with 41 percent of voters saying they would vote for Biden if the election were held today and 39 percent saying they would pick Trump, according to the poll, which surveyed 2,556 U.S. adults nationwide.

Biden's marginal lead was within the poll's roughly 2 percentage point margin of error for registered voters, keeping it in line with a Reuters/Ipsos poll from earlier in the month that showed Trump and Biden each with 40 percent support. In both polls, about one in five voters say they are undecided, leaning toward a third-party candidate or might not vote at all. 

The election is still more than five months away, meaning much could change between now and Nov. 5, and some Republican strategists say they believe the news of Trump's conviction will have little influence on voters' thinking by then.

Trump is due to be sentenced on July 11, and the poll showed the electorate divided on whether he should go to prison for his crimes, with 53 percent of registered voters saying he should not be jailed over the hush money case and 46 percent saying he should serve time.

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