Impeachment probe supported by nearly half of Americans
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.
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.