In new poll, most voters think committed abuses — but are split on impeachment

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Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: AP(2), Getty Images.
Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: AP(2), Getty Images.

As two weeks of televised impeachment hearings and wall-to-wall coverage came to a close, a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll showed that a majority of registered voters believe that Donald abused his powers as president of the United States. But the country remained divided over the question of whether he should be impeached as a result.

The poll was conducted Nov. 20 to Nov. 22. There were five days of televised hearings in the House Intelligence Committee, ending Thursday Nov. 21.

When asked to say whether they believe did or did not commit specific acts in connection with Ukraine — the subject of the House impeachment inquiry — 58 percent of registered voters said they believe the president “asked a foreign leader to investigate a political opponent”; 51 percent said they believe he “withheld military aid until Ukraine agreed to conduct the investigations he wanted”; and 51 percent said they believe he “abused his powers as president.” (Respondents were not asked about any other allegations against .)

These results suggest that a majority of voters have been largely convinced by the case House Democrats are making in Washington: that pressured President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son by using nearly $400 million in military assistance as a quid pro quo — and that he overstepped the bounds of the presidency in the process. 

Yet only 48 percent of voters said they favor impeaching or removing from office — slightly more than the 45 percent who opposed impeaching or removing the president, but less than a majority. 

The remaining seven percent were undecided whether should be impeached or removed, a sign that some voters may still be persuadable. And while Republicans and Democrats have largely made up their minds about removal — 83 percent of Republicans oppose it; the same percentage of Democrats are in favor — Independents are less certain: A slight plurality of them (40 percent) said should be removed, while another 23 percent said they’re still not sure.

Americans are even divided by party over what they believe the likely outcome of the impeachment inquiry will be. Overall, only 11 percent believed that will be removed from office; a plurality (41 percent) expected impeachment in the House followed by acquittal in the GOP-controlled Senate. That’s a view shared by a majority (54 percent) of Democrats. Yet a majority of Republicans (56 percent) believe that won’t be impeached at all.

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These disparities may reflect the fact that Republicans are paying less attention to the impeachment inquiry than Democrats. Fifty-six percent of Democrats said they have been following the Congressional hearings “very closely” or “somewhat closely”; among Republicans, that number was 11 percentage points lower. 

Regardless, Americans say impeachment will play a big role in how they vote in next November’s Congressional elections. Asked to rate how important their current representative’s impeachment vote will be in deciding how to cast their own vote for Congress, Democrats and Republicans were in rare agreement, with 74 percent of both Democrats and Republicans saying either “very important” or “somewhat important.” 

Yahoo News and YouGov surveyed 1500 U.S. adults online. The margin of error is ±2.8 percent.

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