FEBRUARY 1, 2021
One week ahead of former President Donald Trump’s upcoming impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate, polling data suggests that nearly half of unaffiliated voters believe members of the congressional chamber should vote to convict him.
Results of a recent Marist Poll, which collected responses from roughly 1,150 adults nationwide between January 24 and 27, indicated that 49 percent of participants who identified as political independents support Trump’s conviction. Another 39 percent of unaffiliated individuals believed that senators should acquit him of the impeachment charged already passed by U.S. House representatives.
Figures additionally showed that 90 percent of Democratic participants backed the former president’s conviction, while just 5 percent of Republicans said the same. The results carried a margin of error equal to +/- 3.5 percentage points.
Survey respondents offered opinions about several issues related to the presidential transition. A slight majority of participants, 55 percent, described President Joe Biden’s actions since assuming office on January 20 as more unifying than divisive, whereas 35 percent said the opposite. Exactly 50 percent of answers reflected voters’ general approval of Biden’s role as president so far, with about half of those responses noting strong approval.
The House of Representatives moved to impeach Trump in mid-January, shortly after thousands of the former president’s supporters stormed the Capitol complex during a violent siege that led to the deaths of five people, including one Capitol police officer. The House vote formally charged Trump with “incitement of insurrection” for his role in precipitating the January 6 riot, which followed a “Stop the Steal” rally where he reiterated baseless election fraud claims and encouraged supporters to “take back our country.”
The rally, and subsequent uprising, took place as Congress held joint sessions to certify President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory, thus officiating his win against Trump last November. Rioters forced federal lawmakers to suspend voting processes when they breached the Capitol, seeking to overturn the presidential election’s outcome.
Trump, his campaign and various attorneys had endeavored to challenge the contest’s results for months prior to the Capitol attack, filing dozens of unsuccessful lawsuits and publicizing unsubstantiated allegations of election rigging on social media, as well as during interviews and other public addresses.
Trailing the House impeachment vote, two-thirds of the Senate must similarly vote in favor of the insurrection incitement charge in order to secure Trump’s conviction.