Poll: Public Hearings Did Not Move Needle on Impeachment Support

(CN) – A week of public and televised hearings in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump failed to sway most Americans as to their stance on the proceedings, according to a poll released Tuesday.

Former White House national security aide Fiona Hill, and David Holmes, a U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, are sworn in on Nov. 21, 2019, before testifying before the House Intelligence Committee, during a public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump’s efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool)

The CNN poll found half of Americans believe Trump should be impeached and removed from office while 43% are opposed. Both numbers are identical to CNN’s polling in October, prior to the start of public impeachment hearings.

While unchanged from last month, public support for impeachment has grown slightly since the start of the inquiry in September, when 47% favored impeachment and 45% were opposed.

Support for impeaching Trump is higher than it was for Bill Clinton, the last president to face an official impeachment inquiry. Historical polling data shows that during September 1998, the same month that the Ken Starr report was released which citied specific grounds for Clinton’s impeachment, only 29% of Americans believed the president should be impeached – and 67% did not.

Tuesday’s poll also suggests Americans on both sides of the Trump impeachment debate are holding strong to their stances. Among those who believe the president should be impeached and removed from office, 91% say they feel strongly about their impeachment leanings. Similarly, 89% of those who do not want to see Trump impeached say they feel strongly about that belief.

Regardless of their stance on impeachment, a majority of Americans believe Trump’s attempts to have Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky launch an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter were personally and politically motivated. According to the poll, 56% say Trump’s actions were meant to politically benefit himself.

Around 36% of Americas say Trump’s conduct was an attempt to combat corruption in Ukraine. Just 9% say they have no opinion on the subject.

Americans are also divided on how they think congressional Democrats have handled the impeachment effort thus far. Just over half (52%) say they believe House Democrats have used their constitutional authority appropriately during the inquiry, while 40% say Democrats have overstepped and abused their power.

Most Americans say they are following the impeachment inquiry and are staying current on the subject. Seventy-seven percent say that they are either very or somewhat closely following the impeachment investigation. Only 12% of Americans are not closely following the effort and just 10% say they are not following it at all.

Regarding Trump’s overall approval ratings as president, American sentiment has remained largely consistent, with 42% of Americans approving of his job performance and 54% disapproving. These figures show only a marginal change from October when 41% voiced support for Trump’s presidential performance and 57% disapproved.

One area where Trump enjoys extra American support is in his handling of the economy. The poll shows 55% of Americans approve of how he has handled economic issues as president, while 40% disapprove.

On several other key issues and how Trump has managed them, however, such as immigration, trade and the federal budget, Trump fails to capture majority support.

The CNN poll contained a sample size of 1,007 adults and has a 3.7% margin of error.


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