As the figures below show, attitudes toward Trump may be polarized along party lines, but this information does have noticeable and statistically significant effects on evaluations of Trump’s character. For Democrats, who already see Trump as lacking empathy, this information makes them think of him as even less empathetic. But among Republicans, the information is even more damning, reducing perceptions of empathy by more than 10 percentage points.
On perceptions of business acumen, which are higher across both parties, the information regarding Fred Trump’s role in his son’s business success is equally important. Democrats reduce their perceptions of Trump as a good businessman by 6 points, while Republican perceptions decline by 9 points.
These effects may seem small, but the results demonstrate that this misperception was consequential. And among undecided voters or those on the fence, they could make a serious difference in the 2020 election.