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Marquette poll finds slight decline in voter support for impeaching President Trump
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MARQUETTE POLL | ‘PARTY POLARIZATION’

Marquette poll finds slight decline in voter support for impeaching President Trump

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As the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump unfolds in Washington, support for the embattled president has grown slightly in Wisconsin, according to the latest Marquette Law School Poll.

The poll, conducted Nov. 13-17 among 801 registered voters, found that 40% of respondents think Trump should be impeached and removed from office, while 53% say he shouldn’t. The October Marquette poll found 51% of respondents said the president should not be impeached and removed from office, while 44% said he should be impeached.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.

Poll director Charles Franklin said the growth in the president’s support, as well as a slight increase in Trump’s lead over Democratic challengers in potential match-ups, could reflect an invigorated Republican base in response to the ongoing impeachment inquiry.

“What you will see throughout the survey … is a little bit more strength among Republicans for their candidate and their positions, and for Democrats, still strong support for their positions, but it’s down,” Franklin said. “When we have intense partisan conflict, party polarization is the usual reaction.”

House Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry in September focusing on whether Trump abused his presidential powers by attempting to leverage Ukraine to investigate a political opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Biden’s son Hunter.

A January poll found only 33% of respondents felt there was enough cause to begin impeachment hearings, while 59% said they did not. In April, 29% of those surveyed said there was cause for impeachment hearings, while 65% said there was not.

Both of those earlier polls were conducted while Special Counsel Robert Mueller was investigating potential criminal charges of conspiracy and obstruction of justice against Trump and his campaign involving Russia’s interference in the 2016 election but before revelations about the alleged quid pro quo with Ukraine were made public in mid-September.

Democratic voters were much more supportive of impeachment, while Republicans were not, according to the poll.

The poll also found 52% of registered voters said they believe Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate his political rivals, while 29% said they don’t think he did. Another 18% said they don’t know.

What’s more, 41% of respondents believe Trump withheld military aid to pressure Zelensky, while 38% do not. The remaining 21% said they don’t know.

Lastly, 42% said Trump did something seriously wrong in his dealings with Ukraine and another 9% said he did something wrong, but not seriously. That compares to 38% who said he did nothing wrong and another 11% that said they didn’t know.

Franklin did note that views could change. The survey concluded Sunday, before this week’s testimony from several key figures, including U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and the National Security Council’s Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman.

“Everyone was interviewed after that first day of testimony, but they certainly haven’t heard the bulk of testimony,” Franklin said. “As testimony goes on, does the public move in one direction or another as they hear and have a chance to absorb what that testimony was?”

Job approval

Trump’s job approval remained relatively unchanged from the October poll, up from a 46% to 47% approval rating. Disapproval remained at 51% in both polls.

In addition, 55% of those polled approved of Trump’s handling of the economy and 44% approved of his handling of foreign policy. Both are increases from the October poll, which found 51% of registered voters approved of his handling of the economy and the 37% approved of his foreign policy.

At the same time, only 37% of respondents say Trump’s foreign policies have helped America’s standing in the world, while 53% say his policies have hurt the country’s standing.

2020 election

The latest poll also placed Trump ahead of each of the four leading candidates for the Democratic nomination, although several of those leads were within or near the margin of error.

The poll found Trump had a 3-point lead over former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, a 5-point lead over Sen. Elizabeth Warren and an 8-point margin over South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Biden, Sanders and Warren had a slight lead over Trump in the October Marquette poll.

Almost two-thirds of Democratic primary voters said they might change their minds on their primary choice, while 37% said their mind has been made up.

State issues

The poll found that Gov. Tony Evers’ job approval rating fell from 52% in October to 47% this month.

The Wisconsin Legislature’s job approval rating fell from 52% in August to 48% this month. The poll did not ask about the Legislature in the October poll.

In regard to Senate Republicans’ vote earlier this month to fire Evers’ appointed agriculture secretary, Brad Pfaff, 22% of respondents said it was the right thing to do and 25% said it was the wrong move. Meanwhile, 47% said they haven’t heard anything about it and 6% had no opinion.

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