The presidential campaigns of Democrat Joe Biden, left, and Republican Donald Trump are...

The presidential campaigns of Democrat Joe Biden, left, and Republican Donald Trump are trying to figure out how to win over voters who have said a guilty verdict in Trump's hush-money trial would impact their votes.  Credit: AP

WASHINGTON — The criminal conviction of former President Donald Trump has thrust an already tight rematch with President Joe Biden into uncharted territory, with both campaigns left to figure out how to win over the small group of voters who have said a guilty verdict would impact their votes.

National polls conducted during Trump’s hush-money trial in Manhattan, which ended Thursday with a guilty verdict, show a majority of voters reported the outcome of the trial would have no impact on how they would vote in November.

But pollsters and political scientists told Newsday both campaigns likely are eyeing the segment of voters who have said a guilty verdict would make them either less likely or more likely to back Trump.

Any nominal shift among those voters, particularly in battleground states, could decide the election, experts said.

“There are groups that this may have an impact on, and small numbers moving can have a difference between winning and losing in the swing states,” Lee M. Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute of Public Opinion, told Newsday.

“It’s that kind of election where it’s going to be fought in the margins,” said Larry Jacobs, director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota. “It’s basically a toss-up election.”

Trump leads Biden by an average of 3.1% across polls in seven battleground states, according to the poll tracking website Real Clear Politics. But that lead in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Nevada and Wisconsin is within the 3% to 4% margin of error in the surveys Real Clear Politics cited.

Trump has not seen a dip in support since the start of the trial in April. But political experts say polling numbers could change after a jury found him guilty of 34 counts of falsifying business documents to conceal hush money payments to a porn actress ahead of the 2016 election.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted Thursday and Friday, and released Friday evening, found 57% said the verdict would not influence their vote. But the data also revealed potential problem areas for Trump among Republicans and independents who said the verdict would make them less likely to vote for him.

A quarter of independent registered voters said Trump's conviction would make them less likely to support him in November, compared with 18% who said it would make them more likely to vote for him and 56% who said it would not impact their vote.

Among Republicans, 10% of those surveyed by Reuters/Ipsos said the guilty verdict made them less likely to vote for Trump, compared with 56% who said the verdict would have no effect on their vote. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.1%.

Miringoff likened Trump’s legal challenges to those of his 2016 opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton, who suffered a dip in support amid revelations she used a private email server while serving as U.S. secretary of state.

“One of the things we learned, certainly in 2016 with Hillary and the emails, is that a steady drum beat on a topic can have an impact,” Miringoff said. “Trump has always done well when he can change the narrative … But this has been a steady drip of legal court decisions, and I think that there may be, ultimately, some cumulative effect.”

A Marist College/NPR/PBS NewsHour poll released Thursday found 67% of U.S. voters polled May 21-23 said a guilty verdict would make no difference to their vote — but 17% said it would make them less likely to vote for Trump.

Among independents surveyed, 11% said a guilty verdict would make them less likely to vote for Trump, while 15% said it would make them more likely to vote for him. Independents are a critical bloc for either candidate to win over in a tight election year. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7%.

A majority of voters — 53% — polled by Emerson College said a guilty verdict would not impact their vote. But 25% said it would make them less likely to vote for Trump and 23% said it would make them more likely to vote for him. The poll, conducted May 21-23, had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9%.

“There aren’t many true persuadables — somewhere in the low to mid-single digits — but in a close election, they could easily determine the election’s outcome,” Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, said in an email. “Remember, this isn’t just about Biden versus Trump (versus RFK Jr. and the others). It’s about voting or not voting too. A turned-off voter can become a non-voter. Already Americans are indicating they are unenthusiastic about the whole election, not just a specific candidate or candidates.”

Siena College pollster Don Levy said Trump’s trial and conviction “could lead to a small erosion of Trump voters.”

A New York Times/Siena poll taken late in late October found about 6% of voters who either supported Trump or were undecided said if Trump were convicted and sentenced to prison, they would switch to Biden.

Another 4% said they would vote for someone else and 4% said they wouldn’t vote. Overall, it’s not a large percentage — but it could be enough to make a difference in some swing states, Levy told Newsday Friday.

“There are some voters who will have to think about ‘Do I really want to vote for someone who is a convicted felon?’” Levy said. “I think there will be some erosion amongst those voters. It could add up to a point or 2 points — but that is significant at this point.”

He stressed the fall poll occurred when a Trump conviction was hypothetical. Now that it’s a reality, results could change. 

Further, nationally, “we are down to 20% of voters who are not locked in” to voting for Biden or Trump, Levy said. They could be swayed by the trial or other factors — the economy, Israel, Ukraine, the presidential debates or a combination of everything.

“All these factors could potentially move them,” Levy said.

Trump, 77, has vowed to appeal the verdict and has blasted other criminal charges he is facing, including federal felony charges for allegedly mishandling classified documents upon leaving office.

Despite Trump’s legal problems, Biden, 81, has struggled to gain a lead in polls, amid concerns about his age and economic angst among voters, said Jacobs of the University of Minnesota.

In most years that would be a real problem for the incumbent, Jacobs said. “But this race is shaping up as Jimmy Carter's economic malaise versus Richard Nixon's halo of corruption. It's not going to have the kind of massive impacts of those two races. But I think it tilts the race, but in different directions.”

Lawrence Levy, executive dean of Hofstra University’s National Center for Suburban Studies, said both campaigns likely will focus on the suburbs to wage their fight for persuadable voters.

“History and voting patterns suggest that while there may be a lot of blue progressives and bright red MAGA conservatives in the suburbs, there's a preponderance of moderate persuadables, and these are the sorts of voters who are likely to be most affected by the verdict,” Levy said.

With Yancey Roy

WASHINGTON — The criminal conviction of former President Donald Trump has thrust an already tight rematch with President Joe Biden into uncharted territory, with both campaigns left to figure out how to win over the small group of voters who have said a guilty verdict would impact their votes.

National polls conducted during Trump’s hush-money trial in Manhattan, which ended Thursday with a guilty verdict, show a majority of voters reported the outcome of the trial would have no impact on how they would vote in November.

But pollsters and political scientists told Newsday both campaigns likely are eyeing the segment of voters who have said a guilty verdict would make them either less likely or more likely to back Trump.

Any nominal shift among those voters, particularly in battleground states, could decide the election, experts said.

WHAT TO KNOW

  • The guilty verdict against former President Donald Trump has thrust an already tight rematch with President Joe Biden into uncharted territory.
  • Both campaigns have to figure out how to win over the small group of voters who have said a guilty verdict would impact their votes.
  • Any nominal shift among those voters, particularly in battleground states, could decide the election, experts said.

“There are groups that this may have an impact on, and small numbers moving can have a difference between winning and losing in the swing states,” Lee M. Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute of Public Opinion, told Newsday.

“It’s that kind of election where it’s going to be fought in the margins,” said Larry Jacobs, director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota. “It’s basically a toss-up election.”

Trump leads Biden by an average of 3.1% across polls in seven battleground states, according to the poll tracking website Real Clear Politics. But that lead in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Nevada and Wisconsin is within the 3% to 4% margin of error in the surveys Real Clear Politics cited.

Trump has not seen a dip in support since the start of the trial in April. But political experts say polling numbers could change after a jury found him guilty of 34 counts of falsifying business documents to conceal hush money payments to a porn actress ahead of the 2016 election.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted Thursday and Friday, and released Friday evening, found 57% said the verdict would not influence their vote. But the data also revealed potential problem areas for Trump among Republicans and independents who said the verdict would make them less likely to vote for him.

A quarter of independent registered voters said Trump's conviction would make them less likely to support him in November, compared with 18% who said it would make them more likely to vote for him and 56% who said it would not impact their vote.

Among Republicans, 10% of those surveyed by Reuters/Ipsos said the guilty verdict made them less likely to vote for Trump, compared with 56% who said the verdict would have no effect on their vote. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.1%.

Miringoff likened Trump’s legal challenges to those of his 2016 opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton, who suffered a dip in support amid revelations she used a private email server while serving as U.S. secretary of state.

“One of the things we learned, certainly in 2016 with Hillary and the emails, is that a steady drum beat on a topic can have an impact,” Miringoff said. “Trump has always done well when he can change the narrative … But this has been a steady drip of legal court decisions, and I think that there may be, ultimately, some cumulative effect.”

A Marist College/NPR/PBS NewsHour poll released Thursday found 67% of U.S. voters polled May 21-23 said a guilty verdict would make no difference to their vote — but 17% said it would make them less likely to vote for Trump.

Among independents surveyed, 11% said a guilty verdict would make them less likely to vote for Trump, while 15% said it would make them more likely to vote for him. Independents are a critical bloc for either candidate to win over in a tight election year. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7%.

A majority of voters — 53% — polled by Emerson College said a guilty verdict would not impact their vote. But 25% said it would make them less likely to vote for Trump and 23% said it would make them more likely to vote for him. The poll, conducted May 21-23, had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9%.

“There aren’t many true persuadables — somewhere in the low to mid-single digits — but in a close election, they could easily determine the election’s outcome,” Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, said in an email. “Remember, this isn’t just about Biden versus Trump (versus RFK Jr. and the others). It’s about voting or not voting too. A turned-off voter can become a non-voter. Already Americans are indicating they are unenthusiastic about the whole election, not just a specific candidate or candidates.”

Siena College pollster Don Levy said Trump’s trial and conviction “could lead to a small erosion of Trump voters.”

A New York Times/Siena poll taken late in late October found about 6% of voters who either supported Trump or were undecided said if Trump were convicted and sentenced to prison, they would switch to Biden.

Another 4% said they would vote for someone else and 4% said they wouldn’t vote. Overall, it’s not a large percentage — but it could be enough to make a difference in some swing states, Levy told Newsday Friday.

“There are some voters who will have to think about ‘Do I really want to vote for someone who is a convicted felon?’” Levy said. “I think there will be some erosion amongst those voters. It could add up to a point or 2 points — but that is significant at this point.”

He stressed the fall poll occurred when a Trump conviction was hypothetical. Now that it’s a reality, results could change. 

Further, nationally, “we are down to 20% of voters who are not locked in” to voting for Biden or Trump, Levy said. They could be swayed by the trial or other factors — the economy, Israel, Ukraine, the presidential debates or a combination of everything.

“All these factors could potentially move them,” Levy said.

Trump, 77, has vowed to appeal the verdict and has blasted other criminal charges he is facing, including federal felony charges for allegedly mishandling classified documents upon leaving office.

Despite Trump’s legal problems, Biden, 81, has struggled to gain a lead in polls, amid concerns about his age and economic angst among voters, said Jacobs of the University of Minnesota.

In most years that would be a real problem for the incumbent, Jacobs said. “But this race is shaping up as Jimmy Carter's economic malaise versus Richard Nixon's halo of corruption. It's not going to have the kind of massive impacts of those two races. But I think it tilts the race, but in different directions.”

Lawrence Levy, executive dean of Hofstra University’s National Center for Suburban Studies, said both campaigns likely will focus on the suburbs to wage their fight for persuadable voters.

“History and voting patterns suggest that while there may be a lot of blue progressives and bright red MAGA conservatives in the suburbs, there's a preponderance of moderate persuadables, and these are the sorts of voters who are likely to be most affected by the verdict,” Levy said.

With Yancey Roy

NewsdayTV's Elisa DiStefano and Newsday food writer Marie Elena Martinez take a look at the hottest places to dine on Long Island this summer.  Credit: Randee Daddona; Newsday / A.J. Singh

A taste of summer on Long Island NewsdayTV's Elisa DiStefano and Newsday food writer Marie Elena Martinez take a look at the hottest places to dine on Long Island this summer. 

NewsdayTV's Elisa DiStefano and Newsday food writer Marie Elena Martinez take a look at the hottest places to dine on Long Island this summer.  Credit: Randee Daddona; Newsday / A.J. Singh

A taste of summer on Long Island NewsdayTV's Elisa DiStefano and Newsday food writer Marie Elena Martinez take a look at the hottest places to dine on Long Island this summer. 

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