In new Yahoo News/YouGov poll, most voters think Trump committed abuses — but are split on impeachment

Andrew Romano
West Coast Correspondent

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 Donald Trump 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 House Intelligence Committee hearings, ending Thursday, Nov. 21.

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

When asked to say whether they believe Trump 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 to Ukraine until they 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 Trump.)

These results suggest that a majority of registered voters have been largely convinced by the case House Democrats are making in Washington: that Trump pressured Ukrainian 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 registered voters said they favor impeaching Trump or removing him from office — slightly more than the 45 percent who opposed impeaching or removing him, but less than a majority. 

The remaining 7 percent were undecided whether Trump should be impeached or removed, a sign that some registered 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 Trump 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 Trump 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 Trump won’t be impeached at all.

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 when deciding how to cast their own vote for Congress, Democrats and Republicans were in rare agreement, with 74 percent in both parties saying it will be either “very important” or “somewhat important.” 

The survey was conducted by YouGov for Yahoo News. A representative sample of 1,500 adults from YouGov’s research panel were interviewed online. The sample was weighted by age, race, gender, education, voter registration and 2016 presidential vote. The margin of error (MOE) for the full sample was 2.8 percent. The sample included 1,002 registered voters, and the MOE for percentages of registered voters is 3.4%.

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