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MU Law poll: Wisconsin voters narrowly divided over President Trump impeachment

MILWAUKEE — Wisconsin voters are narrowly divided over whether to hold impeachment hearings into President Donald Trump, with a slim majority against removing him from office, a new statewide poll released Wednesday showed.

The Marquette University Law School poll comes after President Trump’s public call for China to investigate baseless corruption claims against Democratic rival Joe Biden and Democrats launched impeachment proceedings to probe President Trump’s similar request of Ukraine. The poll showed support for holding impeachment hearings rose to 46% with 49% against. Only 44% support impeaching and removing President Trump from office, with 51% against.

“Where some national polling is showing support for hearings a bit over 50%, we’re not there yet in our Wisconsin data,” said pollster Charles Franklin.

In January, the Marquette poll showed 33% support for holding impeachment hearings. That question was asked before the release of the report from special counsel Robert Mueller looking into Russian interference in the 2016 election. In April, after some of the report had been released, support for holding impeachment hearings in Wisconsin dropped to 29%.

Wisconsin is one of four swing states — Pennsylvania, Michigan and Florida are the others — that could determine the outcome of the 2020 election because their electorates are so evenly divided. President Trump carried Wisconsin by fewer than 23,000 votes in 2016, becoming the first Republican presidential candidate to win the state in 32 years.

The poll showed that President Trump’s approval rating in Wisconsin, 13 points before the 2020 election, remains steady but below 50%. His approval rating was 46% consistent with where it’s been all year.

The poll showed much lower numbers for President Trump’s handling of foreign policy. Only 37% said they approved of his handling of foreign policy, while 59% disapproved. And even fewer, 32%, said they thought President Trump’s foreign policy was helping the United States’ standing in the world while 58% thought it was hurting.

There was little movement on the question of whether voters thought President Trump was honest. Only 30% said they thought President Trump was honest, compared with 65% who said he was not.

Among the Democratic candidates hoping to take on President Trump, the poll showed former Vice President Joe Biden leading the pack at 31%. That is up from 28% in the last poll . Sen. Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts, was second at 24%, up from 17% in August. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was third at 17%, down from 20%. No one else was in double digits.

The poll of 799 registered voters was taken between Oct. 13 and Oct. 17. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points. That grew to 6.3% when asking questions only of Democrats.

The poll was released just before Vice President Mike Pence was to appear in Wisconsin to rally support for President Trump’s trade policy. Pence was to tour the shipping and packaging materials distributor Uline in Pleasant Prairie. Uline’s founders, Richard and Elizabeth Uihlein, are Republican megadonors.

Pence, who made a similar appearance in Pennsylvania earlier this week, is trying to boost support for passing President Trump’s plan to replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement with a new trade pact. Congress is considering whether to ratify the deal, known as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

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