Majority of Pa. voters support an impeachment inquiry into Trump, poll shows

  • Ed Mahon

Fifty-seven percent of registered voters in Pennsylvania support an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, according to a new statewide poll from Franklin & Marshall College.

“A proportion of those folks just want to know the truth. They haven’t come to any judgment yet,” said Berwood Yost, director of the Center for Opinion Research at the Lancaster County college, which conducted the poll.

An even higher percentage of registered voters, 71 percent, say it is unacceptable for a president to ask a foreign leader to investigate a political opponent, according to the survey of 482 registered voters conducted from Oct. 21 to 27.

Franklin& Marshall’s Thursday release of the poll results comes on the same day that the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to cast an impeachment vote, formalizing the public stage of the process.

Most respondents either strongly support the impeachment inquiry or strongly oppose it. There’s not a lot of people in the middle.

“Politically and consequently, things don’t change much from an elected official’s perspective, until you start seeing erosion in the president’s base,” Yost said. “We don’t see that yet.”

Alex Brandon / The Associated Press

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis in the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019, in Washington.

Despite the support for the impeachment inquiry, Trump’s overall approval rating is similar to what President Barack Obama had at a similar point in his first term. In the survey, 35 percent said Trump is doing an “excellent” or “good” job as president.

In October 2011, 37 percent of respondents in a Franklin & Marshall poll said the same of Obama.

The Franklin & Marshall  survey also found:

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden remains the top choice among registered Democrats (30 percent chose him), followed by U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (18 percent chose her).
  • Most registered voters, 58 percent, said they support legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. But a lot of people don’t like the idea of selling marijuana through the state liquor stores: 40 percent of respondents said they would be much less likely to support marijuana legalization if marijuana is sold in state stores. 
  • Voters support increased gun restrictions, including extreme risk protection orders: 80 percent said they favor giving courts the ability to seize a person’s firearms if that person is judged to be a threat to self or others. And 66 percent support giving a judge the power to temporarily remove someone’s gun rights, even before a gun owner is given a chance to appear in court. That last proposal is one of the sticking points in the debate over creating extreme risk protection orders in Pennsylvania.

The sample error of the Franklin & Marshall survey is 6.1 percentage points. The sample error is higher, 8.9 percentage points, for questions asked of only the 226 registered Democrats contacted in the survey.

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