Support for Trump's impeachment unchanged after hearings begin

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The televised impeachment hearings that began this week in the U.S. House of Representatives do not appear to have changed many minds about President Donald Trump, with public support for his impeachment about the same before and after the first U.S. diplomats testified, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.

U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks on honesty and transparency in healthcare prices inside the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., November 15, 2019. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

The national online poll, which ran from Thursday to Friday morning, showed that 44% of U.S. adults said Trump “should be impeached,” while 40% said he “should not be impeached.” A similar poll that ran earlier in the week found 45% supported impeachment and 42% opposed it.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll also found that about 68% of Americans said they were following the hearings. That includes 28% who said they were watching or listening to the hearings on live broadcasts. About 25% said they had not paid any attention to the impeachment proceedings in Congress.

Among those paying attention, 41% said the hearings had made them “more supportive” of impeaching Trump, while 25% said they had made them “less supportive.” That finding, combined with the overall lack of movement in public opinion regarding impeachment, suggests the hearings so far have mostly provided people with a rationale for their earlier support or opposition to impeachment.

To see the full poll results click here: here

This week’s hearings began the public phase of the House impeachment inquiry. Americans watched as lawmakers questioned U.S. diplomats regarding allegations Trump used his position to strongarm Ukraine into investigating his political opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing.

Yet this week William Taylor and George Kent both testified about what they considered to be alarming efforts by Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to pressure Ukraine into opening a corruption investigation into Biden and his son, Hunter.

Another career diplomat in Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, testified about Giuliani’s role in removing her from her post earlier this year. After Trump chimed in during the hearing with a tweet that derided the 33-year veteran diplomat, Yovanovitch said she found the experience to be “very intimidating.”

Overall, the poll found that 41% of the public approved of Trump, while 54% disapproved.

When asked about the Ukraine allegations, 57% said they agreed that Congress should investigate if Trump committed impeachable offenses, while 30% disagreed. And 47% agreed that Trump “pressured” Ukraine to investigate the Bidens, while 29% disagreed.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online, in English, throughout the United States. It gathered responses from 1,115 adults and has a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of about 3 percentage points.

Reporting by Chris Kahn; Editing by Tom Brown