Trump's support in Wisconsin shows little change in new poll

January 16, 2020

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena,
Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, in Milwaukee.

MADISON — President Donald Trump's support in Wisconsin shows little signs of change in the latest Marquette University Law School poll released Wednesday, with more respondents against removing him from office than those who want to see him ousted after the House voted to impeach.

Voters are nearly evenly divided over whether Trump is doing a good job or not, the first poll of the 2020 election year showed. Trump continued to get high marks from voters in his handling of the economy, while he had lower ratings on his approach to foreign policy. The poll was conducted Jan. 8 through Sunday, just after Trump ordered an attack that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

The poll was conducted after the Democratic-controlled House voted to impeach Trump alleging abuse of power over his pressure on Ukraine to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden, using military aid to the country as leverage. Trump was also charged with obstructing Congress’ ensuing probe.

When asked if the Senate should vote to convict Trump and remove him from office, 44% said he should be removed while 49% said he should be acquitted.

Voters were even more evenly divided when asked whether they approved with the Democratic-controlled House voting to impeach Trump. Approval for the impeachment vote was at 47%, while 49% disapproved.

There was also a close split on whether Trump did something “seriously wrong” in his dealings with Ukraine. While 37% said he did nothing wrong, 40% said he did something seriously wrong.

“It seems pretty clear people have made up their minds," said pollster Charles Franklin.

Trump's job approval rating in January was 48%, with 49% disapproving. In December, 47% approved and 50% disapproved. His job approval rating over the past year has had no significant change, Franklin said.

Likewise, his handling of the economy has been generally positive with 55% in support and 42% disapproving in the latest poll. Those numbers have been fairly stable and consistently a strength for Trump, Franklin said.

The poll also found little movement among Democratic candidates in the presidential race, as voting looms first in Iowa in the Feb. 3 caucuses.

Among Democratic candidates, Biden maintained his lead with 23% support, followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont at 19% and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 15%. None of those were changed from December. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts had 14% support, with 9% saying they don't know who they support.

“It's been a strikingly stable contest during the fall here," Franklin said.

The margin of error in the poll of Wisconsin voters when asking only about the Democratic candidates was 6.3 percentage points. For questions going to all 800 registered voters polled, the margin of error was 4.1 percentage points.

On the attack that killed Soleimani, the poll found that 61% believed that the U.S. and Iran were likely to avoid a serious conflict while 30% said they thought it would become more serious.

When asked if it's about time the U.S. “struck back” at Iran, 43% said yes and 51% said no.

On foreign policy, 44% said they approved of the job Trump was doing while 53% disapproved. That compares with 43% in support in December and 54% against.

Wisconsin college students part of Democrats' campus push

MADISON, Wis. — Democrats know that to defeat President Donald Trump they need to do a better job motivating young voters like University of Wisconsin junior David Pelikan, one of about 40 students being trained this week to become organizers for the eventual presidential nominee.

The training is part of a multimillion-dollar Democratic Party effort in eight key states. Pelikan and others are learning how to organize and be ready to start working for the nominee

“If we want to win, we have to boost youth turnout numbers,” said Pelikan, 21, who grew up north of Milwaukee in Cedarburg.

Presidential campaigns are always looking to increase voter turnout among college students. This year, Democrats are banking on there Organizing Corps initiative as a way to have young people trained and ready to start working on the payroll once the primary season is over.

“The work you are doing here in Wisconsin is off the charts important,” Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez told a room on the Madison campus of about 75 students, party activists and others on Thursday. “News flash: It's going to be close in Wisconsin. That's a fact, folks.”

In 2016, Trump carried Wisconsin by fewer than 23,000 votes, becoming the first Republican presidential candidate to win the state since 1984. Both Republicans and Democrats are pouring resources into Wisconsin and a handful of other states that are expected to determine the winner in 2020.

Democrats established the Organizing Corps program in Wisconsin, Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Florida. Students were trained last week in Arizona. After Wisconsin, similar sessions are being timed for spring break weeks in March in other states. In total, more than 600 students will go through the program, according to the Democratic Party.

The emphasis is on both battleground states and those farther down the primary calendar where candidates have not been spending much time, said Rachel Haltom-Erwin, one of the creators of the Organizing Corps program.

“We are building the talent in those states that we need,” she said.

Republicans are also working together to register college students to vote, raising money and bring prominent GOP speakers to campus, said Alesha Guenther, chair of the Wisconsin Federation of College Republicans.

“Democrats will have a hard time arguing that President Trump's economy does not provide a great environment for recent graduates to find jobs, buy homes, and start their families," she said in a statement.

Democrats swept every statewide office in Wisconsin in 2018, victories that Perez pointed to as a blueprint for defeating Trump. Democrats must engage with voters across the state, not just in the liberal urban areas of Milwaukee and Madison, he said.

Perez is very familiar with Wisconsin. His wife is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin; he proposed to her in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in northern Wisconsin; his daughter is a senior at UW; and he picked Milwaukee to host the Democratic National Convention this summer. That selection was done in part to send a signal about how important Wisconsin is for Democrats, he said.

Hillary Clinton, the 2016 nominee, was roundly criticized for not campaigning in Wisconsin after she lost the state's primary to Sen. Bernie Sanders. Low turnout among young voters, women and minorities contributed to her loss.

“Winning this state, for me, is personal,” Perez told students.

Senate takes over Trump’s impeachment after House handoff

WASHINGTON — In a dramatic procession across the U.S. Capitol, House Democrats carried the formal articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate, setting the stage for only the third trial to remove a president in American history.

Trump complained anew Wednesday that it was all a “hoax,” even as fresh details emerged about his efforts in Ukraine.

The ceremonial pomp and protocol by the lawmakers prosecuting the case against Trump moved the impeachment out of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Democratic-run House to the Republican-majority Senate, where the president’s team is mounting a defense aiming for swift acquittal.

“Today we will make history,'' Pelosi said as she signed the documents, using multiple pens to hand out and mark the moment. “This president will be held accountable."

Moments later the prosecutors walked solemnly through the stately hall, filing into the Senate back row as the clerk of the House announced the arrival: “The House has passed House Resolution 798, a resolution appointing and authorizing managers of the impeachment trial of Donald John Trump, president of United States.”

The Senate will transform itself into an impeachment court at noon Thursday. The Constitution calls for Chief Justice John Roberts to preside at the trial, administering the oath to senators who will serve as jurors and swear to deliver “impartial justice.”

The trial will play out before a deeply divided nation at the start of this election year as Trump seeks a second term and voters review his presidency. Three senators are running for the Democratic nomination.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pledged to have the Senate “rise above the petty factionalism” and “factional fervor and serve the long-term, best interests of our nation.'' He called it “a difficult time for our country.”

Technically, the House was simply notifying the Senate of its delivery of the articles, with a more formal presentation Thursday. Opening arguments are to begin next Tuesday after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

Earlier Wednesday, the House voted 228-193, almost entirely along party lines, ending a weeks-long delay to deliver the charges with a tally reflecting the nation's split.

The House impeached Trump last month alleging he abused his presidential power by pressuring Ukraine to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden, using military aid to the country as leverage. Trump was also charged with obstructing Congress’ ensuing probe.

“This is what an impeachment is about,″ Pelosi said before the vote. “The president violated his oath of office, undermined our national security, jeopardized the integrity of our elections.”

Trump's political campaign dismissed the House effort as “just a failed attempt to politically damage President Trump leading up to his reelection.”

The top Republican in the House, Kevin McCarthy of California, said Americans will look back on this “sad saga” that tried to remove the president from office with the “weakest case.”

The president's team expects acquittal with a Senate trial lasting no more than two weeks, according to senior administration officials unauthorized to discuss the matter and granted anonymity.

That's far shorter than the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton, in 1999, or the first one, of President Andrew Johnson, in 1868.

As McConnell sets the rules for the trial, Trump has given mixed messages about whether he prefers lengthy or swift proceeding, and senators are under pressure with the emerging new evidence to call more witnesses for testimony.

The seven-member prosecution team was led by the chairmen of the House impeachment proceedings, Reps. Adam Schiff of the Intelligence Committee and Jerrold Nadler of the Judiciary Committee, two of Pelosi’s top lieutenants.

"President Trump gravely abused the power of his office," Nadler said. “He did all this for his personal political gain.”

Ahead of Wednesday's session, Schiff released new records from Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, about the Ukraine strategy, including an exchange with another man about surveilling later-fired Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.

Schiff said the new evidence should bring more pressure on McConnell, who is reluctant to allow witnesses to testify and prefers swift acquittal. The White House has instructed officials not to comply with House subpoenas for testimony and documents.

“The challenge is to get a fair trial,” Schiff said in an interview with The Associated Press. “It shouldn't be a challenge — if the senators are really going to live up to their oath to be impartial, they’ll want a fair trial. That’s obviously not where Mitch McConnell is coming from.”

The managers are a diverse group with legal, law enforcement and military experience, including Hakeem Jeffries of New York, Sylvia Garcia of Texas, Val Demings of Florida, Jason Crow of Colorado and Zoe Lofgren of California.

Two are freshmen lawmakers — Crow a former Army Ranger who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, Garcia a former judge in Houston. Demings is the former police chief of Orlando and Jeffries is a lawyer and member of party leadership. Lofgren has the rare credential of having worked on the congressional staff investigation of President Richard Nixon's impeachment — he resigned before the full House voted on the charges — and then being an elected lawmaker during Bill Clinton's.

For the roll call, all but one Democrat, Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, voted to transmit the articles. All Republicans voted against. One former Republican-turned-independent, Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, joined Democrats.

McConnell faces competing interests from his party for more witnesses, from centrists who are siding with Democrats on the need to hear testimony and conservatives mounting Trump's defense.

Senate Republicans signaled they would reject the idea of simply voting to dismiss the articles of impeachment against Trump, as Trump himself has suggested. McConnell agreed he does not have the votes to do that.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine is leading an effort among some Republicans, including Mitt Romney of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, to consider Senate witnesses. She told reporters she was satisfied the rules will allow votes on that.

Romney said he wants to hear from John Bolton, the former national security adviser at the White House, who others have said raised alarms about the alternative foreign policy toward Ukraine being run by Giuliani.

Those or any four senators could force an outcome. Republicans control the chamber, 53-47, and are all but certain to acquit Trump. But it takes just 51 votes during the trial to approve rules or call witnesses. It also would take only 51 senators to vote to dismiss the charges against Trump.

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and other Republicans want to subpoena Biden and his son, Hunter, who served on the board of a gas company in Ukraine, Burisma, while his father was vice president.

McConnell prefers to model Trump's trial partly on the process used for Clinton's impeachment trial in 1999, which considered witnesses later.

McConnell is hesitant to call new witnesses who would prolong the trial and put vulnerable senators who are up for reelection in 2020 in a bind with tough choices. At the same time, he wants to give those same senators ample room to show voters they are listening.


Associated Press