Im­peach­ment probe sup­ported by nearly half of Amer­i­cans

The Peterborough Examiner - - CANADA & WORLD / CLASSIFIED - HAN­NAH FINGER­HUT AND JILL COLVIN

WASH­ING­TON — More Amer­i­cans ap­prove of the im­peach­ment in­ves­ti­ga­tion into U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump than dis­ap­prove of it, though only about a third say the in­quiry should be a top pri­or­ity for Congress, ac­cord­ing to a new poll from The As­so­ci­ated PressNORC Cen­ter for Pub­lic Af­fairs Re­search.

That solid, if mea­sured, sup­port serves as a warn­ing sign for Trump’s White House and re­elec­tion cam­paign, which have in­sisted that pur­su­ing im­peach­ment will end up be­ing a vul­ner­a­bil­ity for Democrats head­ing into 2020.

But the find­ings present some red flags for Democrats, too: More peo­ple say House mem­bers are mo­ti­vated mainly by pol­i­tics rather than by duty as they in­ves­ti­gate the Re­pub­li­can pres­i­dent’s deal­ings with Ukraine, and whether he abused his of­fice or com­pro­mised na­tional se­cu­rity when he tried to pres­sure the coun­try to dig up dirt on a po­lit­i­cal ri­val.

And as­sess­ments of the pres­i­dent’s per­for­mance gen­er­ally have re­mained re­mark­ably sta­ble even as the in­ves­ti­ga­tion has un­folded at a rapid clip.

Over­all, 47 per cent said they sup­port the im­peach­ment in­quiry, while 38 per cent dis­ap­prove.

Still, 53 per cent of Amer­i­cans think the House is act­ing mainly on a po­lit­i­cal mo­ti­va­tion to chal­lenge Trump’s pres­i­dency. That com­pares with fewer, 43 per cent, who say it’s act­ing more in good faith on its re­spon­si­bil­ity to in­ves­ti­gate the ex­ec­u­tive branch.

Like most as­sess­ments of Trump and Wash­ing­ton, views of im­peach­ment are po­lar­ized.

A vast ma­jor­ity of Democrats ap­prove of the in­quiry, in­clud­ing 68 per cent who strongly ap­prove.

Among them is San­dra Shrews­bury, 70, who lives in Green­cas­tle, Ind. She said that Trump’s im­peach­ment is long over­due.

“I am re­ally con­cerned about our coun­try if this does not stop,” she said of Trump’s time in of­fice.

She voiced con­cerns that Trump doesn’t have the tem­per­a­ment to be the na­tion’s com­man­der-in-chief and is do­ing se­ri­ous dam­age to the coun­try’s stand­ing.

She was re­lieved, she said, that after months of hem­ming and haw­ing, im­peach­ment pro­ceed­ings were fi­nally un­der­way.

“I was get­ting very frus­trated with Congress and those in­ves­ti­gat­ing be­cause I felt like they were just drag­ging their heels,” she said. “I wish they’d stop wor­ry­ing about get­ting re­elected them­selves and get down to the busi­ness they’re sup­posed to be do­ing … We pay them to do this job.”

“They should have done it a long time, a way long time ago,” agreed Mon­ica Galindo, 32, who lives in Camilla, Ga.

It’s an­other story among Repub­li­cans, who over­whelm­ingly dis­ap­prove of the in­quiry, in­clud­ing 67 per cent who do so strongly.

“I think its garbage,” said Sara Palmer, 42, a staunch Trump sup­porter who lives in Po­catello, Idaho, and ac­cused Democrats of wast­ing time and money try­ing to take down Trump when there are far more im­por­tant things they should be do­ing for the coun­try.

“I mean come on!” she said. “There’s noth­ing there … He didn’t do any­thing wrong.”

That’s a sen­ti­ment shared by a ma­jor­ity, 64 per cent, of Repub­li­cans.

Yet even among mem­bers of Trump’s party, a mod­est share think he did do some­thing wrong. About a quar­ter, 28 per cent, think he did some­thing un­eth­i­cal, while eight per cent think he broke the law.

The pub­lic over­all has mixed views of whether the pres­i­dent com­mit­ted any wrong­do­ing.

Most say his in­ter­ac­tions with the pres­i­dent of Ukraine were un­eth­i­cal. That in­cludes about four in 10 who think he did some­thing il­le­gal. About an­other three in 10 think what he did was un­eth­i­cal but not il­le­gal.

Trump has in­sisted he did noth­ing wrong.

But nearly all Democrats think the pres­i­dent crossed a line, in­clud­ing roughly seven in 10 who say he broke the law.

Still, not all Democrats think the in­quiry should be Congress’s top pri­or­ity. A quar­ter think it should be an im­por­tant but lower pri­or­ity, and one in 10 say it should not be an im­por­tant pri­or­ity at all. And while most Democrats sup­port the in­quiry, 27 per cent think the House is act­ing mainly on po­lit­i­cal mo­ti­va­tion to chal­lenge Trump’s pres­i­dency.

Even as Amer­i­cans ex­press strong opin­ions about the in­quiry, many have mixed as­sess­ments of their own un­der­stand­ing of the im­peach­ment process. Just about three in 10 say they un­der­stand the process very or ex­tremely well, while roughly as many de­scribe their un­der­stand­ing as lim­ited.

Sky­lar Iske, 22, who voted for Trump in 2016 but has grown weary of him, said it was dif­fi­cult to op­pose the process given his lim­ited aware­ness of the case for im­peach­ment.

“I don’t feel like he should be. But then again, I also don’t know what they’re in­ves­ti­gat­ing,” said Iske.

The AP-NORC poll of 1,075 adults was con­ducted Oct. 24-28 us­ing a sam­ple drawn from NORC’s prob­a­bil­ity-based Amer­iS­peak Panel. The mar­gin of sam­pling er­ror for all re­spon­dents is plus or mi­nus 4.1 per­cent­age points.

SU­SAN WALSH THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ap­proval rat­ing is hold­ing steady as the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives presses for­ward with an im­peach­ment probe, ac­cord­ing to a new poll.

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