A new study released Wednesday found 40% of Wisconsin voters support impeaching President Donald Trump.
The study, conducted by Marquette Law School, surveyed 801 registered voters in Wisconsin by phone, with a 4.1% margin of error. It also gauged public opinion about the 2020 election, and found Trump beating four lead democrats: Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg.
The surveyed support for Trump marks a shift since their last poll in October, before public impeachment hearings began, which found Biden, Sanders and Warren all leading over Trump, and 44% of voters supporting impeachment.
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According to Director of the University of Wisconsin Elections Research Center Barry Burden, the enthusiasm shown for impeachment at the beginning of the process, has begun to die down, and this poll indicates that.
“The Wisconsin electorate appears to have shifted slightly away from seeing impeachment and removal of President Trump as a good idea,” Burden said in an email to The Badger Herald. “This movement tracks nationwide polls to some degree that have also shown a bit less enthusiasm for impeachment in recent weeks.”
The results of the poll were highly partisan, with 93% of Republican and Republican-leaning respondents unsupportive of impeachment, and just 15.5% of Democrat and Democratic-leaning respondents unsupportive.
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In October, 90% of Republican and Republican-leaning respondents didn’t support impeachment, and 12% of Democrat and Democratic-leaning respondents didn’t support impeachment, meaning about 3% of respondents in each party alignment became less supportive of impeachment over the past month.
Burden noted Republicans have begun to support Trump more, and Democrat support for impeachment has begun to wane.
“In the Marquette poll, the movement is due to stronger support among Republicans for President Trump,” Burden said. “At the national level it appears that Democrats and independents have also become a little less favorable toward impeachment.”
The poll also asked respondents how closely they followed the hearings. 69% of Democrats and 69% of Republicans said they paid attention. 63% of Republican-leaning and 66% of Democrat-leaning said they paid attention.
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Of those that paid attention, 48.5% said Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate his political rivals, a reference to the phone call transcript released by the White House in October, in which Trump asked President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to look into alleged instances of corruption surrounding Biden’s son while discussing military aid. Of the respondents, 47.5% said he did not pressure Ukraine into investigating his rivals.
Burden said the evident partisan divide surrounding impeachment will not likely fade.
“The gaping partisan divide does not appear to be going anywhere,” Burden said. “Republicans have long opposed any move toward impeachment, but Democrats became much more favorable toward the idea after the news about the Ukraine scandal emerged and Speaker Pelosi announced that an inquiry would in fact move forward.”
Burden said the future of the impeachment is still uncertain. In order to remove the president from office, the House of Representatives must pass articles of impeachment by a simple majority. Then, the Senate must try the president and vote to remove them with a two-thirds majority.
Burden said there’s a chance the impeachment proceedings could impinge on Democratic campaign activity.
“Looking ahead to the 2020 election, we do not yet know is whether the impeachment process is more likely to energize Trump’s base and help his reelection effort or further motivate Democrats to remove him from office,” Burden said. “An impeachment trial, if it happens, could also impact the Democratic nomination because the Senate might be considering the case just as the first state primaries and caucuses are taking place.”