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MU Law School poll: 40% think Pres. Trump should be impeached and removed, 52% do not

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MILWAUKEE -- A Marquette University Law School poll of Wisconsin registered voters released Thursday, Dec. 12 found support for impeachment has not changed following the conclusion of public testimony before the Intelligence Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives in November.

In the new results, 40% think that President Donald Trump should be impeached and removed from office, while 52% do not think so, and 6% say they do not know. One percent volunteered that they thought President Trump should be impeached but not removed from office. In November, 40% favored impeachment and removal from office, while 53% were opposed and 6% said they didn’t know. The November poll was conducted during the first week of public testimony before the Intelligence Committee but before the second week of testimony.

In October, before public hearings began, 44% favored impeachment and removal from office, while 51% were opposed and 4% said they didn’t know.

The new survey was conducted Dec. 3-8, 2019, after the conclusion of public testimony before the Intelligence Committee in the congressional impeachment hearings. The House Judiciary Committee heard testimony from four constitutional law professors on Dec. 4, during the field period for the survey.

The trend in responses to this question is shown in Table 1.

Table 1: Impeach and remove President Trump from office by survey dates

Impeach & remove Don’t think so Don’t know
10/13-17/19 44 51 4
11/13-17/19 40 53 6
12/3-8/19 40 52 6

Opinions about President Trump’s actions regarding Ukraine also changed very little following public testimony.

The new poll found 52% saying they believe President Trump asked the Ukrainian president to investigate President Trump’s political rivals while 29% believe President Trump did not do this. Eighteen percent say they don’t know. In November, the percentages were the same for each category: 52% said he asked for an investigation, while 29%  said they did not think he did so and 18% said they didn’t know.

In the December poll, 44% say they believe President Trump withheld military aid to pressure the Ukrainian president to investigate President Trump’s political rivals, while 36% do not believe President Trump did this and 19% say they don’t know. In November, 41% said they believed President Trump withheld aid, 38% did not believe he did, and 21% said they did not know.

Forty-two percent say that President Trump did something seriously wrong in his dealings with Ukraine, 9% say he did something wrong but not seriously so, and 37% say President Trump did nothing wrong. Eleven percent say they don’t know. In November, 42% said he did something seriously wrong, 9% said it was wrong but not serious, and 38% said he did nothing wrong.

The poll sample included 800 registered voters in Wisconsin interviewed by cell phone or landline, with a margin of error of +/- 4.2 percentage points.

Democratic presidential primary preference items were asked of those who said they will vote in the Democratic primary in April. That sample size is 358, with a margin of error of +/-6.3 percentage points.

Views of impeachment by partisanship and attention to hearings

There are large partisan differences in views of impeachment, with Democrats much more supportive and Republicans much more opposed, and a plurality of independents opposed. These partisan divisions have changed only modestly from October to December.

Table 2: Impeach and remove President Trump from office by party identification, December

Impeach & remove Don’t think so Don’t know
Republican 4 94 3
Lean Republican 6 89 4
Independent 34 47 13
Lean Democrat 81 14 4
Democrat 80 11 7

Table 3: Impeach and remove President Trump from office by party identification, November

Impeach & remove Don’t think so Don’t know
Republican 4 94 2
Lean Republican 7 92 1
Independent 36 47 15
Lean Democrat 73 20 8
Democrat 81 11 7

Table 4: Impeach and remove President Trump from office by party identification, October

Impeach & remove Don’t think so Don’t know
Republican 6 92 2
Lean Republican 9 88 3
Independent 33 55 10
Lean Democrat 78 16 6
Democrat 88 8 3

Partisans are reacting differently to the evidence and testimony, with Democrats much more likely to say that President Trump asked the Ukrainian president to investigate his political rivals than are Republicans. Independents are more than twice as likely as partisans to say that they do not know if President Trump asked for an investigation: 39% say they don’t know, while 39% say he did ask and 20% say he did not ask.

Table 5: Did President Trump ask for investigation of political rivals by party identification

Yes, did ask No, did not ask Don’t know
Republican 19 59 20
Lean Republican 30 50 18
Independent 39 20 39
Lean Democrat 82 6 12
Democrat 88 4 9

Republicans are less likely to think that President Trump withheld aid to pressure Ukraine for an investigation, with two-thirds of Republicans saying that President Trump did not withhold aid, whereas about eight in 10 Democrats say that he did so. Almost half of independents, 48%, say they don’t know if President Trump withheld aid, with 33% saying he did and 18% saying he did not.

Table 6: Did President Trump withhold aid to pressure Ukraine for investigation of political rivals by party identification

Yes, held up aid No, did not hold up aid Don’t know
Republican 12 69 18
Lean Republican 9 69 21
Independent 33 18 48
Lean Democrat 77 5 17
Democrat 83 7 9

Thirty-one percent of all registered voters say they are following the news and testimony in the impeachment hearings very closely, with another 39% saying they are following fairly closely. Eighteen percent are not following too closely and 11% are following not at all closely.

There are no statistically significant differences in attention to the hearings between Republicans and Democrats, although independents are more likely to say they are not following closely at all.

Table 7: Attention to hearings by party identification

Very closely Fairly closely Not too closely Not at all closely
Republican 31 43 13 13
Lean Republican 30 38 24 8
Independent 14 38 20 27
Lean Democrat 30 36 26 6
Democrat 38 40 16 5

Those who are following the hearings most closely are more likely to have an opinion about the evidence than are those not paying close attention. Of those paying very close attention, 58% say that President Trump asked for an investigation, 33% say he did not ask and only 9% say they don’t know. By contrast, among those not following the hearings at all closely, 21% say President Trump asked, 24% say he did not ask, and 55% say they don’t know.

Table 8: Did President Trump ask for investigation of political rivals by attention to hearings

Yes, did ask No, did not ask Don’t know
Very closely 58 33 9
Fairly closely 57 32 9
Not too closely 49 22 28
Not at all closely 21 24 55

A similar pattern holds with attention and opinion on whether President Trump withheld aid to pressure Ukraine for an investigation. Both the percentage saying he did this and the percentage saying he did not are higher among the most attentive, and both such percentages are lower among the least attentive. Among the most attentive, only 5% say they don’t know while 58% of the least attentive say they don’t know.

Table 9: Did President Trump withhold aid to pressure Ukraine for investigation of political rivals by attention to hearings

Yes, held up aid No, did not hold up aid Don’t know
Very closely 54 41 5
Fairly closely 46 41 11
Not too closely 36 29 34
Not at all closely 21 19 58

 General election matchups

General election matchups between President Trump and five Democratic candidates all indicate very close races, slightly closer than in the November poll.

A summary of the general election results for December is shown in Table 10. For comparison, the November results are shown in Table 11 and the October results in Table 12.

Table 10: December General Election Matchups

Matchup Pct Matchup Pct Matchup Pct Matchup Pct Matchup Pct
Biden 47 Sanders 45 Warren 44 Buttigieg 43 Booker 43
President Trump 46 President Trump 47 President Trump 45 President Trump 44 President Trump 44
Neither 3 Neither 4 Neither 5 Neither 4 Neither 5
Don’t know 3 Don’t know 3 Don’t know 4 Don’t know 7 Don’t know 7

 Table 11: November General Election Matchups

Matchup Pct Matchup Pct Matchup Pct Matchup Pct Matchup Pct
Biden 44 Sanders 45 Warren 43 Buttigieg 39 Booker 45
President Trump 47 President Trump 48 President Trump 48 President Trump 47 President Trump 44
Neither 5 Neither 5 Neither 4 Neither 6 Neither 4
Don’t know 2 Don’t know 2 Don’t know 4 Don’t know 7 Don’t know 5

 Table 12: October General Election Matchups

Matchup Pct Matchup Pct Matchup Pct Matchup Pct
Biden 50 Sanders 48 Warren 47 Buttigieg 43
President Trump 44 President Trump 46 President Trump 46 President Trump 45
Neither 3 Neither 4 Neither 4 Neither 5
Don’t know 3 Don’t know 2 Don’t know 2 Don’t know 7

 Democratic Presidential Primary Candidates

Among those who say they will vote in the Democratic presidential primary in April, Joe Biden receives the most support. Biden is the first choice of 23%, followed by Bernie Sanders at 19%, Elizabeth Warren at 16% and Pete Buttigieg at 15%. Corey Booker is the first choice of 4 %. Recently announced candidate Michael Bloomberg has the support of 3%, as does Andrew Yang and Amy Klobuchar.

The complete results for the Democratic primary are shown in Table 13.

Table 13: First and second choice in Democratic primary (among Democratic primary voters).

Response First Choice Second Choice
Joe Biden 23 15
Bernie Sanders 19 18
Elizabeth Warren 16 20
Pete Buttigieg 15 11
Cory Booker 4 8
Andrew Yang 3 1
Michael Bloomberg 3 8
Amy Klobuchar 3 6
Tulsi Gabbard 1 0
Tom Steyer 0 0
Michael Bennet 0 0
Marianne Williamson 0 1
John Delaney 0 0
Julián Castro 0 1
Deval Patrick 0 0
Someone else (VOL) 1 2
Would not vote (VOL) 1 0
Don’t know 11 8

Two-thirds of Democratic primary voters, 65%, say they might change their minds about their primary choice, while 34% say their mind is made up.

Among the Democratic primary sample, favorability of candidates is shown in Table 14.

Table 14: Favorability ratings of six candidates among Democratic primary sample

Favorable Unfavorable Haven’t heard enough Don’t know
Bernie Sanders 68 23 4 4
Joe Biden 68 16 11 4
Elizabeth Warren 59 17 19 4
Pete Buttigieg 47 10 39 4
Cory Booker 41 12 39 7
Michael Bloomberg 23 32 41 4

President Trump Job Approval

Forty-seven percent approve of the job President Trump is doing as president, with 50% disapproving. That is little changed from October when 47% approved and 51% disapproved. The approval-disapproval ratio of 47-50 matches President Trump’s best rating in the Marquette Law School Poll since taking office, that from Oct. 24-28, 2018.

President Trump’s job approval during 2019 is shown in Table 15.

Table 15: President Trump job approval during 2019

Approve Disapprove
1/16-20/19 44 52
4/3-7/19 46 52
8/25-29/19 45 53
10/13-17/19 46 51
11/13-17/19 47 51
12/3-8/19 47 50

President Trump’s job approval is high among Republicans, is low among Democrats, and is split among independents as shown in Table 16.

Table 16: President Trump job approval by party identification

Approve Disapprove Don’t know
Republican 88 10 1
Lean Republican 89 10 1
Independent 41 48 7
Lean Democrat 6 92 2
Democrat 7 91 1

Fifty-three percent of those polled approve of President Trump’s handling of the economy, while 45% disapprove. In November, 55% approved and 43% disapproved.

Forty-three percent of those polled approve of President Trump’s handling of foreign policy, while 54% disapprove. In the previous poll, 44% approved and 52% disapproved.

Twenty-five percent say that President Trump has changed the Republican party for the better, while 44% say he has changed it for the worse and 26% say he hasn’t changed it much either way. An additional 5% say they don’t know.

Views of how President Trump has changed the Republican party vary by partisanship, with Republican identifiers more positive about the effect President Trump has had on the party, as shown in Table 17.

Table 17: Has President Trump changed GOP for better or worse, by party identification

Changed for the better Changed for the worse Hasn’t changed

much either way

Don’t know
Republican 55 10 31 4
Lean Republican 43 11 42 4
Independent 13 28 47 13
Lean Democrat 1 79 16 4
Democrat 2 86 10 2

 Economic outlook and issues

Wisconsin registered voters hold a net positive view of the performance of the economy over the past 12 months, with 44% saying the economy has improved over the past year, 21% saying it has worsened, and 34% saying it has stayed the same. The trend in economic evaluations of the past year is shown in Table 18.

Table 18: Economic evaluation of past year

Gotten better Gotten worse Stayed the same
1/16-20/19 42 20 34
4/3-7/19 42 19 37
8/25-29/19 37 25 34
10/13-17/19 41 20 36
11/13-17/19 42 18 37
12/3-8/19 44 21 34

Looking ahead to the next year, 32% say the economy will improve, while 25% think it will get worse and 37% say the economy will remain the same. The trend in economic outlook during 2019 is shown in Table 19.

Table 19: Economic outlook for next year

Get better Get worse Stay the same
1/16-20/19 29 34 30
4/3-7/19 34 27 34
8/25-29/19 26 37 33
10/13-17/19 25 30 39
11/13-17/19 35 24 37
12/3-8/19 32 25 37

 Evaluation of state elected officials

Gov. Tony Evers’ job approval stands at 50%, with disapproval at 38%. Eleven percent say they don’t have an opinion. In November, 47% approved, while 42% disapproved. The trend in job approval of the governor is shown in Table 20.

Table 20: Evers’s job approval in 2019

Approve Disapprove
1/16-20/19 39 22
4/3-7/19 47 37
8/25-29/19 54 34
10/13-17/19 52 34
11/13-17/19 47 42
12/3-8/19 50 38

Table 21 presents the favorability ratings of elected officials in Wisconsin and the percentage of respondents who haven’t heard enough or say they don’t know.

Table 21: Favorability ratings of governor and senators

Favorable Unfavorable Haven’t heard enough Don’t know
Tony Evers 45 37 12 5
Tammy Baldwin 42 39 14 3
Ron Johnson 36 34 26 4

CLICK HERE for more on the latest Marquette University Law School poll.

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