(CBS) — Hours of public hearings have done little to sway public opinion on impeachment. The public remains similarly divided on the matter, as it was a month ago, but more say the president deserves to be impeached than say he doesn’t over his handling of matters regarding Ukraine. However, congressional Democrats have yet to convince those beyond their own base of their arguments for impeaching President Trump.
If the president is impeached and the matter heads to the Senate, the public splits on what it thinks should happen: 42 percent think he should be convicted and removed, while the same percentage say the Senate should not convict him or not hold a trial at all.
Most Democrats approve of congressional Democrats introducing articles of impeachment. They continue to assert that the president’s actions deserve such a response, and most want the Senate to convict and remove him from office. Republicans disapprove, and say that impeachment is not deserved. More Republicans prefer the Senate not hold a trial at all (46 percent) than hold a trial that acquits the president (40 percent). Independents are more divided, with slightly more saying Trump does not deserve impeachment than say he does.
Few of the respondents we recontacted from last month have changed their mind on this issue. Among those who expressed an opinion about whether Trump deserves to be impeached over his actions concerning Ukraine, just 4 percent now offer the opposite opinion.
The public is divided on how it perceives the arguments behind the two articles of impeachment — on whether the president’s actions were an abuse of power and whether he tried to obstruct Congress. Most Democrats find the arguments convincing, while just over half of independents and most Republicans remain unconvinced.
But Americans aren’t swayed by some of the arguments defending the president’s behavior either: 6 in 10 are unconvinced that he was just trying to investigate corruption in Ukraine. Even more reject the notion that as president, he has free rein to do whatever he wants to when dealing with other countries.
Trump’s overall job rating has held fairly steady throughout the impeachment process. Forty-four percent say he’s doing a good job as president, similar to the 46 percent rating he received last month.
The CBS News survey is conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 4,584 U.S. residents interviewed between December 11-13, 2019. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 presidential vote and registration status. The margin of error is +/- 1.7 points.