Why State Voters Cooled on Impeachment
MU poll found small shifts add up and Trump might be helped by good economy.
On the same day Ambassador Gordon Sondland testified to the House Intelligence Committee about an explicit quid-pro-quo offer from the Trump administration to Ukraine, the new Marquette University Law School poll showed support for impeachment has declined among Wisconsinites.
Why is that?
“On the Republican side it’s not hard to understand,” says poll director Charles Franklin. “The rally-around-your-team effect is something we’ve seen so much in recent years. At least in the short term, I would have expected Republicans to rally around Trump.”
Franklin was more surprised by the drop-off in support for impeachment among Democrats.
“It’s not that Democrats turned away from impeachment,” he hastens to add. “It’s just that they became 3 or 4 points less enthusiastic.”
Dig a little deeper into the poll results, and you will see that Republican voters do seem to have become more pro-Trump. Among those who identify as Republicans, 4% support impeaching and removing the president now, versus 6% in October. Among those who lean Republican, the number is 7% today versus 9% in October.
Independents, meanwhile, are actually more likely to support impeaching and removing the president today (36%) than they were last month (33%).
Democratic voters, meanwhile, have lost a little steam on impeachment since the public hearings began. Last month, 88% of Democrats and 78% of those who lean Democratic wanted to impeach and remove Trump. Today, 73% of those who lean Democratic and 81% of Democrats support impeaching and removing the president from office.
Still, sentiment for impeachment among Democrats has remained high since the inquiry launched, Franklin points out.
Democratic voters in Wisconsin rallied around impeachment significantly between April and October, following the lead of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. ““When the leadership was saying, ‘No, no, no,’ support was tepid,” Franklin says (only 29% of respondents in the April Marquette poll thought there were sufficient grounds to hold impeachment hearings). “Then it went to the high 70s and 80s.”
Franklin also points out that the poll was conducted last Wednesday through Sunday. “Since we were out of the field on Sunday, this week’s testimony is not factored in,” he says.
“Give it time, and especially, watch to see if there’s a cumulative impact of the testimony,” he advises.
Both people’s sense of the facts, and their conclusions about what should happen, could shift.
“Over 50% believe the president asked for an investigation,” Franklin points out, “but only 41% think he delayed aid. Listening to today’s testimony, you can imagine that number could move.”
An important context for the poll numbers is that only 33% of Republicans and 39% of Democrats say they are following the impeachment proceedings “very closely.” A majority of those who are actually tuning in — 61% — say Trump asked for an investigation into the Bidens. Among people who admit they are not following the impeachment proceedings closely at all, only 34% say Trump asked for an investigation.
Not only are Wisconsinites a little less keen on impeaching the president than they were last time they were asked, they also are feeling more bullish on the economy — and on Trump.
Franklin attributes Trump’s stronger approval rating on the economy to the stock market highs last month. People are feeling more optimistic about the economy for the coming year as well. “Positive economic evaluations are helping Trump. That has nothing to do with impeachment,” Franklin says.
As for Trump’s overall approval, which the poll shows is up by 1% since last month, Franklin says it shows Wisconsin is still in play.
“Last time the Democrats were a little ahead, but within the margin of error. This time, Trump is a little ahead but within the margin of error. That’s pretty much the definition of a close election,” Franklin says. “We’re still a battleground state.”
Reprinted with permission of Wisconsin Examiner.
- Op Ed: The Courage of Mitt Romney - Bill Kaplan - Feb 10th, 2020
- In Trump Acquittal, Wisconsin Legislators Divided - Robin Bravender and Ruth Conniff - Feb 6th, 2020
- Pocan: ‘A Cover-Up That Will Haunt our Democracy’ - U.S. Rep Mark Pocan - Feb 5th, 2020
- Johnson Statement On Acquittal Votes - U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson - Feb 5th, 2020
- Johnson Votes to Conclude Impeachment Proceedings - U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson - Feb 3rd, 2020
- Call Bolton to Testify, Baldwin Urges - Erik Gunn - Jan 29th, 2020
- “Gut Check Time” For Senators, Baldwin Says - Shawn Johnson - Jan 28th, 2020
- Data Wonk: Measuring Republican Views on Impeachment - Bruce Thompson - Jan 2nd, 2020
- Data Wonk: Rep. Sensenbrenner’s Disappointing Column - Bruce Thompson - Dec 26th, 2019
- Pocan: ‘A Vote That Sets the Precedent for All Future Presidents’ - U.S. Rep Mark Pocan - Dec 18th, 2019
Read more about Impeachment of President Trump here