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Is Impeachment a Risk For New Dems?

Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019

Voters want to beat Trump in 2020, but perhaps not impeach

West Long Branch, NJ – Like most of the nation, voters in New Jersey prefer to beat President Donald Trump at the ballot box in 2020 rather than launch an impeachment trial now, according to a Monmouth University Poll taken earlier this month. Independent voters in traditionally Republican House districts – most of which are held by first-term Democratic members – are more likely to hold a negative rather than positive view of the prospect of their current representative supporting impeachment.  [Note: this poll was conducted before recent news about a whistleblower case involving a call Trump made to the Ukrainian president, which may or may not have impacted opinion on impeachment.]

Trump remains underwater with Garden State voters – 37% approve and 56% disapprove of the job he is doing as president. He earns a negative 30%-64% voter rating in the state’s six solidly Democratic House districts (1, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12 combined). He gets a nominally negative 43%-48% rating in New Jersey’s six historically Republican districts – five of which are now held by Democrats. This includes four who were swept into office as part of the 2018 “Blue Wave” (NJ02, NJ03, NJ07, NJ11) and one who won a tide-bucking victory in 2016 (NJ05). Just one of these traditionally GOP districts remains in Republican hands (NJ04).

Just 34% of New Jersey voters say Trump should be reelected while 59% say it is time for someone else to take office. Across the state, nearly all Democrats (93%) want someone new (just 3% say reelect Trump), while the vast majority of Republicans (82%) support the president’s reelection (just 13% want someone new). A majority of independents prefer someone new (54%) over a second Trump term (38%).

In the state’s six solidly Democratic districts, 65% of voters prefer someone new and just 28% support reelecting the incumbent. This margin is nearly identical to the advantage Hillary Clinton held over Trump in these districts in the 2016 presidential election. She won these districts by 67% to 30%. In New Jersey’s six traditionally Republican districts, a majority of 52% prefer someone new in office to just 41% who support reelection. Trump actually won the combined vote in these districts three years ago by a narrow 50% to 46% edge.

“New Jersey is a solidly blue state when it comes to presidential elections. But it looks like it might be even bluer in 2020 with a coattail effect that could potentially help new Democratic House members hold on to their seats,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

While New Jersey voters do not want to see Trump reelected, only 37% believe he should be impeached and ousted from the Oval Office now.  Another 58% say he should not be impeached and removed.  Public opinion on the House Judiciary Committee holding an inquiry that may or may not lead to Trump’s impeachment finds just 43% who say this is a good idea and 52% who say it is a bad idea.  Among voters who live in solidly Democratic congressional districts, 44% support impeachment (53% are opposed) and 46% say the House inquiry is a good idea (47% say it is a bad idea). In the traditionally Republican districts, just 30% support impeachment (65% are opposed) and 38% say the inquiry is a good idea (57% say it is a bad idea).  [Note: this poll was conducted before recent news about a whistleblower case involving a call Trump made to the Ukrainian president, which may or may not have impacted opinion on impeachment.]

“Opposition to impeachment in New Jersey is similar to what we have seen in national public opinion polls prior to recent news about the Ukraine issue. But it’s worth noting this sentiment was higher in districts that Democrats managed to take away from Republicans in the last two election cycles,” said Murray. He added, “The bottom line is that most voters in districts that flipped last year want to see Trump turned out of office in 2020.  But at the time of the poll, they did not want Congress to get bogged down in an impeachment process.”

If their representative voted in favor of impeachment, 26% of New Jersey voters say they would be more likely to support the incumbent’s reelection while a similar 23% say they would be less likely to back the incumbent. Nearly half (47%) say that a vote in favor of impeachment would have no significant impact on their House vote either way.  On the other side of the issue, if their representative voted against impeachment, 19% of New Jersey voters say they would be more likely to support the incumbent’s reelection while a similar 21% say they would be less likely. Just over half (55%) say that a vote against impeachment would have no significant impact on their congressional vote.

Examining these results by type of House seat, there is a small net benefit to supporting impeachment in solidly Democratic districts.  In these six districts, 28% of voters say a vote in favor of impeachment would make them more likely to support their representative’s reelection compared with 19% who would be less likely (with 48% saying there would be no impact).  On the other side of the equation, 18% of voters in these solidly blue districts say they would be more likely to support an incumbent who voted against impeachment while 23% would be less likely (with 53% saying a vote against impeachment would have no impact on their House support).

The picture is more muddled in the state’s six traditionally Republican districts. While 24% of these voters would be more likely to support a representative who voted in favor of impeachment, 27% would be less likely (with 45% saying this vote would have no impact on their House support). Similarly, 21% say they would be more likely to support a representative who voted against impeachment and 19% would be less likely (with 57% saying this vote would have no impact on their House support).  Drilling down a little further, though, suggests the electoral impact of supporting impeachment would be a net negative for independent voters who live in these red-hued districts. Specifically, just 20% of independents in NJ02/03/04/05/07/11 would be more likely to support the reelection of their House member if the incumbent voted in favor of Trump’s impeachment while a greater number (31%) would be less likely (with 45% saying this would have no impact).  If their representative voted against impeachment, 20% of independents in these six traditionally GOP districts say they would be more likely to support that person’s reelection and 15% would be less likely (with 60% saying it would have no impact).

“The Democratic base wants impeachment, but independent voters, particularly those who live in traditionally Republican districts, express more reservations. The new representatives who flipped these seats in the last cycle need the support of both groups in 2020, which is why many of them avoided joining the call for an impeachment inquiry until this week. The question is whether recent events have led more of their constituents to hold the same view.  This situation is evolving rapidly and New Jersey will provide a good test of its impact,” said Murray.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from September 12 to 16, 2019 with 713 New Jersey adults.  Results in this release are based on 651 registered voters and have a margin of error of +/- 3.9 percentage points.  The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.

QUESTIONS AND RESULTS

(* Some columns may not add to 100% due to rounding.)

[Q1 held for future release.]

[Q2-3 previously released.]

4. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Donald Trump is doing as president?

TREND: Sept.
2019
Feb.
2019
April
2018
July
2017
Approve 37% 38% 35% 37%
Disapprove 56% 57% 61% 57%
(VOL) Don’t know 7% 5% 3% 6%
   (n) (651) (549) (632) (758)

[Q5-11 previously released.]

12. Looking ahead to the 2020 election for President, do you think that Donald Trump should be reelected, or do you think that it is time to have someone else in office?         

  Sept.
2019
Should be reelected 34%
Someone else should be in office 59%
(VOL) Don’t know 6%
   (n) (651)

13. Do you think President Trump should be impeached and compelled to leave the presidency, or not?

  Sept.
2019
Yes, should 37%
No, should not 58%
(VOL) Don’t know 5%
   (n) (651)

14. Do you think it is a good idea or bad idea for the House Judiciary Committee to conduct an impeachment inquiry into President Trump that may or may not lead to impeachment?

  Sept.
2019
Good idea 43%
Bad idea 52%
(VOL) Both 1%
(VOL) Don’t know 5%
   (n) (651)

[QUESTIONS 15 & 16 WERE ROTATED]

15. If your member of the House of Representatives voted in favor of impeachment, would that make you more likely or less likely to vote for him or her in 2020, or would it have no significant impact on your vote?

  Sept.
2019
More likely 26%
Less likely 23%
No significant impact 47%
(VOL) Won’t vote 2%
(VOL) Don’t know 2%
   (n) (651)

16. If your member of the House of Representatives voted against impeachment, would that make you more likely or less likely to vote for him or her in 2020, or would it have no significant impact on your vote?

  Sept.
2019
More likely 19%
Less likely 21%
No significant impact 55%
(VOL) Won’t vote 2%
(VOL) Don’t know 3%
   (n) (651)

[Q17-21 previously released.]

[Q22-41 held for future release.]

METHODOLOGY

The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from September 12 to 16, 2019 with a random sample of 713 New Jersey adults age 18 and older, in English. This includes 359 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 354 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone. The results in this poll release are based on a subsample of 651 registered voters. Telephone numbers were selected through random digit dialing and landline respondents were selected with a modified Troldahl-Carter youngest adult household screen. Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey design, data weighting and analysis. Final sample is weighted for region, age, education, gender and race based on US Census information. Data collection support provided by Braun Research (field) and Dynata (RDD sample). For results based on the registered voter sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points (unadjusted for sample design). Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below). In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

DEMOGRAPHICS (weighted)
Registered Voters
 
Self-Reported
20% Republican
45% Independent
35% Democrat
 
47% Male
53% Female
 
27% 18-34
36% 35-54
38% 55+
 
61% White
14% Black
17% Hispanic
  8% Asian/Other
 
62% No degree
38% 4 year degree
 
 

Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and crosstabs by key demographic groups.

Download this Poll Report with crosstabs