As the Senate impeachment trial gets underway, slightly more Americans say that Donald Trump should be removed from office than say he should stay in office, with these views starkly divided along partisan lines.
Roughly half of U.S. adults (51%) say the outcome of the Senate trial should be Trump’s removal from office, while 46% say the result should lead to Trump remaining in office.
An overwhelming share of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (86%) say the trial should result in Trump remaining in office, while roughly the same share of Democrats and Democratic leaners (85%) think Trump should be removed.
While the public’s preferences for the outcome of the Senate trial are closely divided, 63% of Americans say Trump has definitely (38%) or probably (25%) done things that are illegal, either during his time in office or while he was running for president.
A larger majority (70%) say he has definitely (45%) or probably (26%) done unethical things, according to the new survey, conducted Jan. 6-19 among 12,638 U.S. adults on Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel.
Trump’s overall job ratings have not changed in the wake of the impeachment process, just as they have remained relatively stable over the course of his presidency.
In the current survey, 40% approve of the way Trump is handling his job as president, while 58% say they disapprove.
Views are about the same as they were in September 2019 (40% approve, 59% disapprove), prior to the House of Representatives launching a formal impeachment inquiry and voting to impeach the president.
Opinions about what the outcome of the trial should be are sharply divided along party lines.
More than eight-in-ten Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (86%) say that the Senate trial should result in Trump staying in office.
By contrast, a nearly identical share of Democrats and Democratic leaners (85%) say the trial should result in Trump’s removal.
And while a 56% majority of Americans ages 65 and older say Trump should remain in office, 63% of those under 30 say the trial should lead to Trump’s removal.
To some extent this age divide reflects that younger adults tend to be more Democratic than older adults, but younger Americans are more likely to say this even after accounting for partisanship.
Among Republicans, just 7% of those 50 and older say Trump should be removed from office.
By comparison, 26% of Republicans ages 18 to 29 and 16% of those 30 to 49 say the outcome of the Senate trial should result in Trump’s removal from office.
There are no age differences in these views among Democrats: Roughly 85% of those in all age groups say the outcome of the Senate trial should be Trump’s removal.
Clear majorities of both black (82%) and Hispanic (66%) Americans say the Senate trial should result in Trump’s removal, while 58% of white Americans say the Senate should not remove Trump.
There is a stark difference in these views by education, particularly among white Americans.
Nearly two-thirds of white Americans without a college degree (64%) say Trump should remain in office following the Senate trial.
But the balance of opinion is reversed among white Americans with a college degree or more education: 53% say the outcome of the Senate trial should be that Trump is removed from office.