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Poll finds few likely voters want Trump to be exiled or put to death if convicted

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A new poll found almost half of likely voters think former President Donald Trump is guilty of trying to overturn the 2020 election.

The poll, by The Heartland Institute and Rasmussen Reports, found 47% of likely voters believe Trump is guilty of “crimes associated with an alleged attempt to overturn the 2020 election.”

If Trump were to be convicted, the poll found Democrats favor harsh punishments for Trump and any members of the media “who also alleged that fraud tainted the election results.”

When asked “Former president Donald Trump has been formally charged with crimes associated with an alleged attempt to overturn the 2020 election. Do you think Donald Trump is guilty, not guilty, or are you unsure if he’s guilty or not guilty?”, 47% of likely voters answered “yes,” including 72% of Democrats and 20% of Republicans.

When asked what Trump’s punishment should be if he is found guilty of these crimes, 34% of likely voters said he should receive a fine, 5% said he should go to prison for less than one year, 16% said he should go to prison for one to five years, 16% said he should go to prison for more than five years, 7% said he should go to prison for life, 3% said he should be permanently exiled, and 2% said “death” should be his punishment. Eighteen percent (18%) selected “not sure.”

Trump has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges in two federal cases and two state cases. If convicted, Trump could face prison time. Neither exile nor the death penalty are options.

Trump has blamed President Joe Biden and Democrats for his legal troubles, which he has said amount to election interference.

A combined 18% of Democrats believe Trump should be imprisoned for life, permanently exiled, or put to death, compared to a combined 3% of Republicans, according to the poll results.

Some also indicated they were in favor of punishments for journalists.

When asked, “If President Trump is found guilty of crimes associated with attempting to overturn the 2020 election, do you think members of the media who also alleged that fraud tainted the election results should be criminally punished as well?”, 48% of likely voters responded “yes,” 33% responded “no,” and 19% responded “not sure.” Fifty-seven percent of Democrats responded “yes,” compared to 43% of Republicans.

The poll of 1,085 likely voters was conducted from November 30 to December 6, 2023. Among those surveyed in the poll, 33% were Republicans, 36% were Democrats, and 31% were “other”; 32% were 18-39 years old, 46% were 40-64 years old, and 22% were 65 or older, according to the Heartland Institute, a free-market think tank.

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