Poll: Many Americans think Trump is being treated differently than other criminal defendants

April 26, 2024

A majority of Americans believe former President Donald Trump is being treated differently—better or worse—than most criminal defendants in his hush-money case, according findings of a new CNN poll, reports The Hill.

Trump’s hush-money trial began on Monday, April 15—marking the first criminal trial of a former American president. He has been charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records in relation to reimbursements to his attorney at the time, Michael Cohenwho paid an adult film actor $130,000 prior to the 2016 election to keep quiet about an alleged affair with Trump.

In the poll—conducted April 18 through April 23—CNN asked, “Thinking about how Donald Trump is being treated by the criminal justice system during the hush-money trial, which comes closest to your view?”

The CNN poll found that the following respondents think Trump is getting lenient treatment:

  • 34% of men;
  • 34% of women;
  • 29% of Whites;
  • 44% of people of color;
  • 61% of Biden followers; and
  • 16% of those who disapprove of Biden.

Those who think Trump is being treated more harshly than other defendants include:

  • 38% of men;
  • 30% of women;
  • 44% of Whites;
  • 18% of people of color;
  • 7% of Biden followers; and
  • 52% of those who disapprove of Biden.

Another recent poll from The Economist/YouGov found that 24% of surveyed Americans think the former president is going to be convicted of a crime in the hush money case; 36% said they don’t think the former president will be convicted; and 39%  said they weren’t sure.

The same poll found that 43% of surveyed Americans think Trump should be convicted of a crime in the case; 37% think he shouldn’t be; and 20% are unsure.

Following the second day of jury selection in his trial, Trump referred to the reimbursements as a “legal expense,” putting some blame on his accountants.

“I was paying a lawyer, and we marked it down as a legal expense—some accountant. I didn’t know,” Trump told reporters. “Mark it down as a legal expense. That’s exactly what it was. And you get indicted over that?”

Research contact: @thehill