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New polls show Americans support impeachment inquiry but aren’t sold on removing Trump

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A trio of polls released Tuesday show Americans support an investigation into accusations that President Donald Trump asked Ukraine to probe his 2020 rival Joe Biden but they are not sold on the idea of the President being removed from office.

Almost three-in-five Americans support House Democrats’ move to start an impeachment inquiry of the President, according to a Washington Post-Schar School poll released Tuesday. The inquiry centers around Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky after a whistleblower filed a complaint about the call. A transcript of the conversation released by the White House shows Trump repeatedly pushed Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden.

The Post’s poll found nearly half of those polled approved of the inquiry into impeachment and want Trump removed from office, while 6% approve of the proceedings but don’t want him removed and 38% don’t agree with the proceedings to begin with.

Other polls released later on Tuesday afternoon found less support for Trump’s impeachment and removal from office.

A Quinnipiac poll, out later on Tuesday, found slightly lower support for impeachment than the Post. Forty-five percent of those polled said the President should be impeached and removed from office, 49% said he shouldn’t be. Quinnipiac’s poll was among registered voters, rather than all adults, but often question wording makes a big difference, with their poll specifically referencing Trump’s removal from office. More (53%) approve of the House’s formal impeachment inquiry, according to the Quinnipiac poll.

And an NBC/WSJ poll that was released Tuesday evening found even less support for impeaching and removing Trump — 43% of those polled said they were in favor and 49% said they were against impeachment and removal.

Both Quinnipiac’s and The Washington Post’s polls found growing support for impeachment.

In September of this year, Quinnipiac reported only 37% said Trump should be removed from office, up to 45% now. And in July of this year, a Washington Post/ABC News poll found that only 37% of Americans said Congress should begin impeachment proceedings, the lowest it had been since they began tracking the question in August 2018, when 49% wanted impeachment proceedings to begin. Now, 58% said Congress should have begun the inquiry.

The allegation that Trump held back military aid from Ukraine before his request to Zelensky is seen as a big deal in the Washington Post poll — 58% said this matters “a lot” or “a great deal,” compared to 37% who said it matters “not so much” or “not at all.”

Only 38% of Americans in the NBC/WSJ poll said Trump has been honest and truthful when it comes to the congressional investigation, and 58% said he hasn’t. Similarly, in the Quinnipiac poll, 55% of registered voters reported they believe the President abuses the power of his office. And only 34% of voters approve of how he’s responding to the impeachment inquiry.

Despite an onslaught of negative headlines, Trump’s approval rating has remained steady. In the NBC/WSJ poll, Trump’s approval holds at 43%, the exact same as it was in August. In the Quinnipiac poll, 40% of voters approve of the job he’s doing as president, the same as it was in mid-September, pre-inquiry.

In The Washington Post-Schar School poll, a majority of Americans (61%) said that Democrats in Congress are making a necessary stand against Trump’s actions by beginning impeachment proceedings. Over half (53%) said they’re acting to uphold their constitutional duties. Forty-one percent said this was an overreaction while 55% said it isn’t. Another half of Americans said that Democrats are distracting Congress from more important issues.

Both NBC/WSJ and Quinnipiac’s polls find that around half of people trust the investigation — 51% in NBC/WSJ said it was a serious allegation to be fully investigated, while 51% said it was legitimate in Quinnipiac, only 44% in each who said it was “politically motivated” (NBC/WSJ) or a “political witch hunt” (Quinnipiac).

The Washington Post and the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University poll was conducted by telephone between October 1 and 6 among a random national sample of 1,007 adults, 69% of whom were reached on cellphones and 31% on landlines. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points; the error margin is larger for results among subgroups.

The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted by phone October 4-7, surveying 1,483 self-identified registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points, including the design effect.

The NBC/WSJ poll was conducted October 4-6 of 800 adults — more than half via cell phone — and it has an overall margin of error of plus-minus 3.5 percent points.

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