MILWAUKEE – A new Marquette Law School poll of Wisconsin registered voters finds that 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 percent think that President Donald Trump should be impeached and removed from office, while 52 percent do not think so and 6 percent say they do not know. One percent volunteered that they thought Trump should be impeached but not removed from office. In November, 40 percent favored impeachment and removal from office, while 53 percent were opposed and 6 percent 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 percent favored impeachment and removal from office, while 51 percent were opposed and 4 percent 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.
Opinions about Trump’s actions regarding Ukraine also changed very little following public testimony.
The new poll finds 52 percent saying they believe Trump asked the Ukrainian president to investigate Trump’s political rivals while 29 percent believe Trump did not do this. Eighteen percent say they don’t know. In November, the percentages were the same for each category: 52 percent said he asked for an investigation, while 29 percent said they did not think he did so and 18 percent said they didn’t know.
In the December poll, 44 percent say they believe Trump withheld military aid to pressure the Ukrainian president to investigate Trump’s political rivals, while 36 percent do not believe Trump did this and 19 percent say they don’t know. In November, 41 percent said they believed Trump withheld aid, 38 percent did not believe he did, and 21 percent said they did not know.
Forty-two percent say that Trump did something seriously wrong in his dealings with Ukraine, 9 percent say he did something wrong but not seriously so, and 37 percent say Trump did nothing wrong. Eleven percent say they don’t know. In November, 42 percent said he did something seriously wrong, 9 percent said it was wrong but not serious, and 38 percent 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.
Partisans are reacting differently to the evidence and testimony, with Democrats much more likely to say that 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 Trump asked for an investigation: 39 percent say they don’t know, while 39 percent say he did ask and 20 percent say he did not ask.
Republicans are less likely to think that Trump withheld aid to pressure Ukraine for an investigation, with two-thirds of Republicans saying that Trump did not withhold aid, whereas about eight in ten Democrats say that he did so. Almost half of independents, 48 percent, say they don’t know if Trump withheld aid, with 33 percent saying he did and 18 percent saying he did not.
Thirty-one percent of all registered voters say they are following the news and testimony in the impeachment hearings very closely, with another 39 percent saying they are following fairly closely. Eighteen percent are not following too closely and 11 percent 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.
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 percent say that Trump asked for an investigation, 33 percent say he did not ask and only 9 percent say they don’t know. By contrast, among those not following the hearings at all closely, 21 percent say Trump asked, 24 percent say he did not ask, and 55 percent say they don’t know.
A similar pattern holds with attention and opinion on whether 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 percent say they don’t know while 58 percent of the least attentive say they don’t know.
General election matchups
General election matchups between 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.
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 percent, followed by Bernie Sanders at 19 percent, Elizabeth Warren at 16 percent and Pete Buttigieg at 15 percent. Corey Booker is the first choice of 4 percent. Recently announced candidate Michael Bloomberg has the support of 3 percent, as does Andrew Yang and Amy Klobuchar.
The complete results for the Democratic primary are shown in Table 13.
Two-thirds of Democratic primary voters, 65 percent, say they might change their minds about their primary choice, while 34 percent say their mind is made up.
Among the Democratic primary sample, favorability of candidates is shown in Table 14.
Trump Job Approval
Forty-seven percent approve of the job Trump is doing as president, with 50 percent disapproving. That is little changed from October when 47 percent approved and 51 percent disapproved. The approval-disapproval ratio of 47-50 matches Trump’s best rating in the Marquette Law School Poll since taking office, that from Oct. 24-28, 2018.
Trump’s job approval during 2019 is shown in Table 15.
Trump’s job approval is high among Republicans, is low among Democrats, and is split among independents as shown in Table 16.
Fifty-three percent of those polled approve of Trump’s handling of the economy, while 45 percent disapprove. In November, 55 percent approved and 43 percent disapproved.
Forty-three percent of those polled approve of Trump’s handling of foreign policy, while 54 percent disapprove. In the previous poll, 44 percent approved and 52 percent disapproved.
Twenty-five percent say that Trump has changed the Republican party for the better, while 44 percent say he has changed it for the worse and 26 percent say he hasn’t changed it much either way. An additional 5 percent say they don’t know.
Views of how Trump has changed the Republican party vary by partisanship, with Republican identifiers more positive about the effect Trump has had on the party, as shown in Table 17.
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 percent saying the economy has improved over the past year, 21 percent saying it has worsened, and 34 percent saying it has stayed the same. The trend in economic evaluations of the past year is shown in Table 18.
Looking ahead to the next year, 32 percent say the economy will improve, while 25 percent think it will get worse and 37 percent say the economy will remain the same. The trend in economic outlook during 2019 is shown in Table 19.
Evaluation of state elected officials
Gov. Tony Evers’ job approval stands at 50 percent, with disapproval at 38 percent. Eleven percent say they don’t have an opinion. In November, 47 percent approved, while 42 percent disapproved. The trend in job approval of the governor is shown in Table 20.
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.
About the Marquette Law School Poll
The Marquette Law School Poll is the most extensive statewide polling project in Wisconsin history. This poll interviewed 800 registered Wisconsin voters by landline or cell phone, Dec. 3-8, 2019. The margin of error is +/-4.2 percentage points for the full sample.
The Democratic presidential candidate preference items were asked of those who said that they will vote in the Democratic primary. That sample size is 358 with a margin of error of +/-6.3 percentage points.
The partisan makeup of the sample, including those who lean to a party, is 45 percent Republican, 44 percent Democratic and 9 percent independent. The partisan makeup of the sample, excluding those who lean to a party, is 30 percent Republican, 29 percent Democratic, and 39 percent independent.
Since January 2017, the long-term partisan balance, including those who lean to a party, in the Marquette poll has been 45 percent Republican and 45 percent Democratic, with 9 percent independent. Partisanship, excluding those who lean, has been 30 percent Republican and 29 percent Democratic, with 40 percent independent.
The entire questionnaire, methodology statement, full results and breakdowns by demographic groups are available at law.marquette.edu/poll/results-and-data.