AJC POLL: Georgians support impeachment inquiry, split on Trump ouster

A majority of Georgia voters approve of the Democratic-led impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump, but they are more divided over whether he should be ousted from office, according to an exclusive Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll released Tuesday.

The poll found that nearly 54% of registered Georgia voters approve of the impeachment inquiry into whether Trump tried to enlist Ukraine to open investigations into his political opponents. That’s compared with 44% of voters who oppose and 2% who don’t know or refused to answer.

Asked whether he should be removed from office, Georgians were almost evenly split: About 47% say he should be removed, about 47% say he should not, and about 6% did not answer or didn’t know.

Those are the findings from the latest AJC poll, which was conducted by the University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs amid the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into the president.

» Interactive: See poll results

» Related: How — and why — we conducted this poll

» Related: Trump faces tough re-election fight in Georgia

» PDF: Complete poll crosstabs

It mirrors a growing collection of national polls that show the country is divided along political lines on impeachment, an issue that will attract even more attention Wednesday when the U.S. House holds the first in a series of public hearings after weeks of closed-door testimony.

The poll, which was conducted from Oct. 30 to Nov. 8, has a margin of error of 3 percentage points. The findings reflected the partisan warfare that’s dominated the public discussion about removing Trump from office.

Support for impeachment is overwhelming among Georgia Democrats, with 94% in favor and only 6% opposed. Among Republicans, the opposition to impeachment is almost as strong, with 86% opposing impeachment and about 13% in favor. Independents are more split: About 55% approve of the inquiry and 43% disapprove.

The results tighten when voters are pressed on whether Trump should be removed from office after impeachment.

About 88% of Democrats say he should be ousted, a slightly lower proportion than support impeachment, while a higher percentage of Republicans say Trump should remain in office. The poll found 90% of Republicans oppose removing him from office, while 8% support it.

A slim majority of independents also oppose Trump’s ouster, with 51% against removing him and 40% in support.

‘Strife and stress’

That sharp divide is no mystery to Flannery Williams, a gerontology student from Lilburn who begrudgingly admires Trump’s deep reservoir of support. She marvels at Trump’s “my way or the highway” mentality, which she said helps cocoon him from fallout over impeachment.

“He’s broken many, many laws over the course of his presidency,” she said. “And the fact that he is president has given him leeway to do it.”

The president’s Georgia backers echoed the rhetoric from many Republican politicians by describing impeachment as a politicized attempt to thwart Trump. Darryl Douglass, an information technology worker from Jonesboro, said he’s seen no evidence yet warranting Trump’s removal from office.

“It’s all a political stunt because the Democrats have a hard time grasping that they’re losing the 2020 election,” he said. “Over the next couple of years, they’re going to come to grips with the fact that Trump will be sitting in the Oval Office in 2021 — and they can’t do anything about it.”

Some Georgia voters are rallying behind Democrats who are leading the inquiry. Deby Glidden, an Atlanta consultant, is among the independents who say Trump should be removed from office.

“He’s run afoul of everything this country stands for, including requesting political interference from other countries. I think that’s treason,” said Glidden, who once considered herself a Republican. “And there’s basis for impeachment with all of the testimony that’s been given so far.”

Others worry that Congress is too focused on impeaching Trump while ignoring other demanding issues. Vivian E. Johnson, a college chaplain, said she wants Congress to expand health care access and create new ways to help recent graduates find work.

“Impeachment is not going to make any difference. There are so many other things that we need to be focused on, and impeachment will divert us,” she said. “It’s causing a lot of strife and stress out there. This is just not the time.”

AJC poll

The poll of 1,028 registered voters was conducted Oct. 30 to Nov. 8 by the University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs. The margin of error is 3 percentage points.

Do you approve or disapprove of the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump?

1. Approve – 54%

2. Disapprove – 44%

3. Don’t know; refused to answer – 2%

Based on what you know at this point, do you think that Donald Trump should or should not be impeached and removed from office?

1. Should be impeached and removed – 47%

2. Should not be impeached and removed – 47%

3. Don’t know; refused to answer – 6%

Note: The survey was conducted by telephone, with 70% of calls made to cellphones and 30% to traditional landlines. The data are weighted based on race, age and sex to accurately reflect the demographics of the state. Some totals may not equal 100% due to rounding.

Coming Wednesday

Just short of a year away from the 2020 presidential election, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll explores how competitive Georgia will be in that contest and how its voters feel about the direction of the nation and state, the economy and the performance of various leaders.