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State voters pretty well split on impeachment

by The November 2020 election is about a year away, but the impeachment drama seems likely to play out much sooner.

How will all of that play in the swing state of Wisconsin, called “ground zero” of the 2020 campaign?

Early polling indicates fewer Wisconsin voters than voters nationwide jumping on the impeachment bandwagon.

Wisconsin voters are split over whether there is enough evidence to hold impeachment hearings against President Trump, according to the latest Marquette University Law School Poll released Oct. 23.

Forty-six percent believe there is enough evidence now to hold hearings, while 49 percent disagreed.

Survey Director Charles Franklin said there was slightly less support among Wisconsin voters than the average of national surveys. Still, support for hearings is up significantly from the spring, when Marquette found a split of 29-65.

Franklin called that a “notable upturn.”

There was a split among partisans with Democrats much more likely to support impeachment hearings than Republicans. Among independents, 35 percent backed hearings, while 53 percent didn’t. Franklin said independents also were less likely to have followed coverage of the allegations against the president.

The poll also found 44 percent support impeaching the president and removing him from office, while 51 percent don’t.

Overall, 46 percent of voters approve of the job Trump is doing, while 51 percent disapprove compared to a 45-53 split in the August survey.

The poll didn’t find much change in the head-to-head matchups pitting Trump against Democratic presidential contenders.

Former Vice President Joe Biden was favored by 50 percent of respondents, while 44 percent backed Trump. The change from the 51-42 split in Biden’s favor in the August poll was within the margin of error.

Forty-eight percent backed U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, while 46 favored Trump; it was 47 percent to 46 percent for U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren versus Trump; and it was 45 percent to 43 percent for Trump versus Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Ind.

Biden continued to be the first choice among Democrats in the presidential primary, while Warren leapfrogged Sanders into second place.

And more than half of Wisconsin voters continued to approve of the job Gov. Tony Evers is doing.

The latest poll found 52 percent approve of the governor’s job performance, compared to 34 percent who disapproved. In August, the spread was 54-34.

Meanwhile, 55 percent say the state is headed in the right direction, while 39 percent believe it’s off on the wrong track. Last month, that was 55-37.

The poll also found 46 percent of respondents have a favorable impression of U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, while 39 percent had a negative one. For U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, the split was 40-29.

The poll of 799 voters was conducted Oct. 13-17 with 60 percent of the interviews conducted over cell phones. The margin of error was plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.

The poll sample was 45 percent Republican and 44 percent Democratic with leaners included. That compares to a long-term average of 45-45.

The sample of those planning to vote in the Democratic presidential primary included 379 respondents, and it has a margin of error of plus or minus 6.3 percentage points.

The Capitol Report is written by editorial staff at, a nonpartisan, Madison-based news service that specializes in coverage of government and politics, and is distributed for publication by members of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association.

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