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Most Say Trump Hindered Inquiry, But Impeachment Opinion is Unmoved

Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019

Public hearings did not increase trust in process

West Long Branch, NJ – A majority of Americans feel that President Donald Trump withheld information from the House impeachment committees in an effort to hinder the investigation. The Monmouth University Poll also finds that few believe Trump’s discussion of an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden’s family arose from official administration policy. Still, opinion that Trump should be impeached remains a minority view and there is not a huge deal of public trust in the House inquiry. Note: the poll was conducted before this week’s Judiciary Committee hearing and announcement of intended articles of impeachment.

The president’s job rating stands at 43% approve and 50% disapprove. This is not significantly different from his 43% to 51% rating in November and 41% to 53% rating in late September. Over the past 12 months, the president’s approval rating has ranged from 40% to 44% in Monmouth’s polling, while his disapproval rating has ranged from 50% to 54%. In fact, 71% of Americans say that people are set in their opinions of Trump regardless of any new information that might come out. Only 24% entertain the possibility that new information could ever come out that would significantly change public opinion of him. These results are comparable to when Monmouth asked the same question back in March (67% opinion is set to 29% it could change).

Currently, 45% of Americans feel that Trump should be impeached and compelled to leave the presidency, while 50% disagree with this course of action. Support for impeachment and removal is higher than it was in the summer (35% for and 59% against in both August and June), but has held steady since an initial bump after news broke about Trump’s call with Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky (44%-52% in late September and 44%-51% in November).

When presented with four statements about impeachment and Trump’s behavior in office, 38% say that his actions are clearly grounds for impeachment (it was 37% in November) and another 15% say that his actions should be looked into as possible impeachable offenses (17% last month). On the other side of public opinion, just 16% say Trump has not done anything wrong at all (16% last month) and 30% say that some of his actions may have been improper but do not rise to the level of an impeachable offense (28% last month).

“Opinion on impeachment has been rock steady since news of the Ukraine call first broke. Any small shifts we are seeing now are likely to be statistical noise,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

The poll finds that confidence in the congressional impeachment process has also remained steady since public hearings got underway. Just 26% of the public say they have a lot of trust in how the House impeachment inquiry has been conducted so far, 27% have a little trust, and 44% have no trust at all. The comparable numbers in November, before the public hearings, were 24% a lot of trust, 29% a little, and 44% no trust.

Neither political party is seen as particularly high-minded in this process. Just 33% of Americans say congressional Democrats are more interested in pursuing the facts (31% last month) while 59% say they are more interested in finding ways to bring down Trump (60% last month). Similarly, just 29% of Americans say congressional Republicans are more interested in pursuing the facts (25% last month) while 61% say they are more interested in finding ways to defend Trump (61% last month).

“Monmouth’s poll last month showed that half the public believed trust in the House impeachment process would increase once the hearings moved out into the open. That simply has not happened,” said Murray.

A majority of Americans (61%) say that Trump has not cooperated with the House impeachment investigation, which is twice the number who say he has (31%). Only 1 in 4 say Trump has provided either all (10%) or most (14%) of the information that the House committee asked for. Another 35% say he has provided just some of the information and 30% say he has provided none of what was requested.  A majority of Americans (53%) say that if Trump withheld this information it was done more to hinder the investigation, while 35% say it was done more for legitimate reasons.

As may be expected, the vast majority of Democrats say that Trump has not cooperated with the investigation (87%) and has withheld information mainly to hinder the inquiry (89%).  On the other hand, while most Republicans say Trump has been cooperative (53%) and that any withheld information was done for legitimate reasons (60%), a sizable minority of his fellow partisans say the president has not cooperated (36%) and that his lack of cooperation was done more to hinder the investigation (21%).

“There seems to be a sense, even among some Republicans, that Trump has been trying to hide something. And yet, overall public opinion of impeachment remains pretty much where it has been since the House inquiry got underway,” said Murray.

Although the Ukraine incident was the impetus for the impeachment charges, 16% of Americans still say they have not heard anything about Trump’s phone call with Zelensky.  Another 64% have heard a lot and 19% have heard a little. Seven in 10 Americans (69%) believe that Trump probably mentioned an investigation into the Biden family during this call while 19% say he probably did not, even though that point of fact is not in dispute. These results are largely unchanged from Monmouth’s November poll (70% Trump did mention an investigation and 15% did not).

When asked why Trump would have mentioned an investigation into Biden during the call, 40% say it was done to help Trump politically, 21% say it was done to pursue official administration policy, and 29% say it was done for both reasons.  When those who said “both” were asked which of the two reasons they thought played a bigger role, 15% say it was more to help Trump, 9% say it was more to pursue policy, and 5% say the two reasons played an equal role.

“The Republican defense of Trump has been that the contents of the call were not at all out of the ordinary. And while few Americans buy that premise, there is not a clear majority on the other side who say that Trump acted wholly out of political motives. This suggests that the upcoming vote on articles of impeachment will continue to divide the public,” said Murray.

Russian influence has also been a factor in the impeachment process, if not the actual charges.  The public is divided on Trump’s relationship with that country – 46% are concerned that he may be too friendly toward Russia and 49% are not concerned. Since Trump became president, concern about his attitude toward Russia has ranged from 46% to 54% of the public.  Similarly, 47% say Trump’s attitude toward Russia presents a national security threat and 49% say it does not. Opinion that Trump’s Russia relationship poses a security risk has ranged from 45% to 50% since May 2017.

Nearly two-thirds of the public believes that Russia will definitely (37%) or probably (28%) try to interfere in the 2020 presidential election.  Just 3 in 10 say they will definitely not (13%) or probably not (17%) attempt this.  Only 27% believe the U.S. government is doing enough to stop Russian interference in the American electoral system.  This result has held steady at 27% to 28% since March 2018.  A majority (53%) currently say that the federal government is not doing enough to stop this. This is down slightly from 57% to 60% in past polls, while the number who do not know what the government is doing or say such interference is not happening (19%) is up from past polls (12% to 16%).

The Monmouth University Poll also finds little movement in opinion of Congress and the country’s direction. Currently, 22% of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing and 65% disapprove, while 32% say the country is headed in the right direction and 56% say it is on the wrong track.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from December 4 to 8, 2019 with 903 adults in the United States.  The question results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 3.3 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.)

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

  TREND: Dec.
2019
Nov.
2019
Sept.
2019
Aug.
2019
June
2019
May
2019
April 2019 March 2019 Jan.
2019
Nov.
2018
Aug.
2018
June
2018
April
2018
March
2018
Jan.
2018
Approve 43% 43% 41% 40% 41% 40% 40% 44% 41% 43% 43% 43% 41% 39% 42%
Disapprove 50% 51% 53% 53% 50% 52% 54% 51% 54% 49% 50% 46% 50% 54% 50%
(VOL) No opinion 8% 6% 6% 7% 9% 8% 6% 5% 5% 8% 7% 11% 9% 8% 8%
(n) (903) (908) (1,161) (800) (751) (802) (801) (802) (805) (802) (805) (806) (803) (803) (806)
  TREND: Continued Dec.
2017
Sept.
2017
Aug.
2017
July
2017
May
2017
March
2017
Approve 32% 40% 41% 39% 39% 43%
Disapprove 56% 49% 49% 52% 53% 46%
(VOL) No opinion 12% 11% 10% 9% 8% 11%
(n) (806) (1,009) (805) (800) (1,002) (801)

2. Do you approve or disapprove of the job the U.S. Congress is doing?

  TREND: Dec.
2019
Nov.
2019
Sept.
2019
Aug.
2019
June
2019
May
2019
April
2019
March
2019
Jan.
2019
Approve 22% 23% 21% 17% 19% 20% 24% 23% 18%
Disapprove 65% 64% 68% 71% 69% 71% 62% 68% 72%
(VOL) No opinion 13% 13% 11% 13% 12% 9% 14% 9% 10%
(n) (903) (908) (1,161) (800) (751) (802) (801) (802) (805)
  TREND: Continued Nov.
2018
Aug.
2018
June
2018
April
2018
March
2018
Jan.
2018
Dec.
2017
Sept.
2017
Aug.
2017
July
2017
May
2017
March
2017
Jan.
2017
Approve 23% 17% 19% 17% 18% 21% 16% 17% 18% 19% 19% 25% 23%
Disapprove 63% 69% 67% 71% 72% 68% 65% 69% 69% 70% 68% 59% 66%
(VOL) No opinion 14% 14% 14% 12% 11% 11% 19% 15% 13% 11% 13% 16% 11%
(n) (802) (805) (806) (803) (803) (806) (806) (1,009) (805) (800) (1,002) (801) (801)
  TREND: Continued Sept.
2016*
Aug.
2016*
June
2016*
March
2016
Jan.
2016
Dec.
2015
Oct.
2015
Sept.
2015
Aug.
2015
July
2015
June
2015
April
2015
Jan.
2015
Dec.
2014
July
2013
Approve 15% 14% 17% 22% 17% 16% 17% 19% 18% 18% 19% 21% 18% 17% 14%
Disapprove 77% 78% 76% 68% 73% 73% 71% 71% 72% 69% 71% 67% 70% 73% 76%
(VOL) No opinion 8% 9% 7% 10% 10% 10% 12% 11% 11% 12% 10% 12% 11% 11% 10%
(n) (802) (803) (803) (1,008) (1,003) (1,006) (1,012) (1,009) (1,203) (1,001) (1,002) (1,005) (1,003) (1,008) (1,012)

*Registered voters

3. Would you say things in the country are going in the right direction, or have they gotten off on the wrong track?

  TREND: Dec.
2019
Nov.
2019
Sept.
2019
Aug.
2019
June
2019
May
2019
April
2019
March
2019
Nov.
2018
Aug.
2018
June
2018
April
2018
March
2018
Jan.
2018
Right direction 32% 30% 30% 28% 31% 29% 28% 29% 35% 35% 40% 33% 31% 37%
Wrong track 56% 61% 61% 62% 62% 63% 62% 63% 55% 57% 53% 58% 61% 57%
(VOL) Depends 8% 7% 6% 8% 6% 4% 7% 6% 7% 6% 3% 5% 6% 3%
(VOL) Don’t know 4% 2% 2% 2% 2% 3% 3% 2% 3% 3% 3% 4% 1% 3%
(n) (903) (908) (1,161) (800) (751) (802) (801) (802) (802) (805) (806) (803) (803) (806)
  TREND: Continued Dec.
2017
Aug.
2017
May
2017
March
2017
Jan.
2017
Aug.
2016*
Oct.
2015
July
2015
June
2015
April
2015
Dec.
2014
July
2013
Right direction 24% 32% 31% 35% 29% 30% 24% 28% 23% 27% 23% 28%
Wrong track 66% 58% 61% 56% 65% 65% 66% 63% 68% 66% 69% 63%
(VOL) Depends 7% 4% 5% 4% 4% 2% 6% 5% 5% 5% 5% 5%
(VOL) Don’t know 3% 5% 3% 5% 2% 3% 4% 3% 3% 2% 3% 4%
(n) (806) (805) (1,002) (801) (801) (803) (1,012) (1,001) (1,002) (1,005) (1,008) (1,012)

      *Registered voters

[Note: Q4 was rotated with Q5-Trump reelection question, which was released yesterday.]

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

  TREND: Dec.
2019
Nov.
2019
Sept.
2019
Aug.
2019
June
2019
May
2019
March
2019
Nov.
2018
April
2018
Jan.
2018
July
2017
Yes, should 45% 44% 44% 35% 35% 39% 42% 36% 39% 38% 41%
No, should not 50% 51% 52% 59% 59% 56% 54% 59% 56% 57% 53%
(VOL) Don’t know 5% 4% 5% 6% 6% 5% 4% 5% 5% 4% 6%
(n) (903) (908) (1,161) (800) (751) (802) (802) (802) (803) (806) (800)

[Q5 previously released.]

6. In general, do you think there is any new information that could ever come out about President Trump that would significantly change public opinion of him, or do you think people are set in their opinions regardless of what new information may come out?

TREND: Dec.
2019
March
2019
Information could come out to change public opinion 24% 29%
People are set in their opinions regardless 71% 67%
(VOL) Don’t know 6% 4%
(n) (903) (802)

7. Are you concerned or not concerned that President Trump may be too friendly toward Russia?  [If CONCERNED: Are you concerned a lot or a little?]

TREND: Dec.
2019
June
2019
Jan.
2019
March
2018
July
2017
May
2017
March
2017
Jan.
2017
Aug.
2016*
Concerned, a lot 34% 36% 40% 39% 38% 39% 37% 33% 32%
Concerned, a little 12% 11% 10% 13% 16% 12% 11% 15% 13%
Not concerned 49% 48% 47% 46% 44% 45% 49% 48% 49%
(VOL) Don’t know 4% 4% 2% 3% 3% 4% 3% 3% 3%
(n) (903) (598) (805) (803) (800) (1,002) (801) (801) (803)

      *Registered voters

8. Do you think Trump’s attitude toward Russia does or does not present a national security threat to the U.S.?

TREND: Dec.
2019
June
2019
Jan.
2019
March
2018
July
2017
May
2017
Does 47% 45% 45% 50% 48% 48%
Does not 49% 51% 51% 45% 48% 46%
(VOL) Don’t know 5% 4% 4% 5% 4% 7%
(n) (903) (598) (805) (803) (800) (1,002)

9. Do you think the Russian government will try to interfere in the 2020 presidential election – would you say definitely, probably, probably not, or definitely not?

  Dec.
2019
Definitely 37%
Probably 28%
Probably not 17%
Definitely not 13%
(VOL) Don’t know 5%
(n) (903)

10. Is the U.S. government doing enough or not doing enough to stop Russian interference in the American electoral system?

TREND: Dec.
2019
May
2019
Jan.
2019
March
2018
Enough 27% 28% 27% 27%
Not enough 53% 60% 57% 59%
(VOL) No interference happening 3% 3% 2% 2%
(VOL) Don’t know 16% 9% 14% 12%
   (n) (903) (802) (805) (803)

[Q11-12 & 14-16 previously released.]

[Q13 held for future release.]

17. Which of the following comes closest to how you feel about impeachment: A. Trump has not done anything wrong at all; B. Some of Trump’s actions may have been improper, but they do not rise to the level of impeachment; C. Trump’s actions should be looked into as possible impeachable offenses; or D. Trump’s actions are clearly grounds for impeachment?

TREND: Dec.
2019
Nov.
2019
A. Trump has not done anything wrong at all 16% 16%
B. Some of Trump’s actions may have been improper,
but they do not rise to the level of impeachment
30% 28%
C. Trump’s actions should be looked into as possible
impeachable offenses
15% 17%
D. Trump’s actions are clearly grounds for impeachment 38% 37%
(VOL) Don’t know 1% 2%
(n) (903) (908)

18. How much trust do you have in the way the House impeachment inquiry has been conducted so far – a lot, a little, or none at all?

TREND: Dec.
2019
Nov.
2019
A lot 26% 24%
A little 27% 29%
None at all 44% 44%
(VOL) Don’t know 4% 3%
(n) (903) (908)

[QUESTIONS 19 & 20 WERE ROTATED]

19. Do you think the Democrats in Congress are more interested in pursuing the facts wherever they might lead or more interested in finding ways to bring down President Trump?

TREND: Dec.
2019
Nov.
2019
Pursuing the facts 33% 31%
Bringing down Trump 59% 60%
(VOL) Both/depends 4% 7%
(VOL) Don’t know 4% 2%
(n) (903) (908)

20. Do you think the Republicans in Congress are more interested in pursuing the facts wherever they might lead or more interested in finding ways to defend President Trump?

TREND: Dec.
2019
Nov.
2019
Pursuing the facts 29% 25%
Defending Trump 61% 61%
(VOL) Both/depends 6% 5%
(VOL) Don’t know 5% 8%
(n) (903) (908)

21. Would you say Donald Trump has or has not cooperated with the House investigation?

  Dec.
2019
Has 31%
Has not 61%
(VOL) Don’t know 8%
(n) (903)

22. Has Trump provided all of the information that the House committee asked for, most of what they asked for, just some of that they asked for, or none of what they asked for?

  Dec.
2019
All 10%
Most 14%
Just some 35%
None 30%
(VOL) Don’t know 10%
(n) (903)

23. If Trump withheld information, do you think this was done more for legitimate reasons or more to hinder the investigation?

  Dec.
2019
More for legitimate reasons 35%
More to hinder the investigation 53%
(VOL) Both equally 3%
(VOL) Rejects choice 2%
(VOL) Don’t know 6%
(n) (903)

24. Have you heard anything about reports that Donald Trump asked the Ukrainian president to investigate Joe Biden and his son, or haven’t you heard about this? [If YES: Have you heard a lot or just a little?]

TREND: Dec.
2019
Nov.
2019
Sept.
2019
Yes, a lot 64% 64% 52%
Yes, a little 19% 25% 27%
No, not heard 16% 11% 21%
(n) (903) (908) (1,161)

25. Do you think Donald Trump probably did or probably did not mention the possibility of an investigation into the Biden family during his conversation with the Ukrainian president?

TREND: Dec.
2019
Nov.
2019
Sept.
2019
Probably did  69% 70% 62%
Probably did not  19% 15% 15%
(VOL) Don’t know 12% 14% 23%
(n) (903) (908) (1,161)

26. Do you think the mention of an investigation into Biden was done to pursue official administration policy or done to help Donald Trump politically, or done for both reasons? [If BOTH: Which reason do you think played a bigger role – to pursue official administration policy or to help Donald Trump politically?

  Dec.
2019
To pursue official administration policy 21%
Both, more to pursue official policy 9%
Both reasons equally 5%
Both, more to help Trump politically 15%
To help Donald Trump politically 40%
(VOL) Rejects choice 2%
(VOL) Don’t know 8%
(n) (903)

METHODOLOGY

The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from December 4 to 8, 2019 with a national random sample of 903 adults age 18 and older. This includes 363 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 540 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone, in English. 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. The full sample is weighted for region, age, education, gender and race based on US Census information (CPS 2018 supplement). Data collection support provided by Braun Research (field) and Dynata (RDD sample). For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 3.3 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)
Self-Reported
26% Republican
43% Independent
30% Democrat
 
49% Male
51% Female
 
31% 18-34
32% 35-54
37% 55+
 
64% White
12% Black
16% Hispanic
  8% Asian/Other
 
69% No degree
31% 4 year degree
  

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

Download this Poll Report with crosstabs