WASHINGTON – Americans remain almost evenly divided over the impeachment of President Donald Trump after his acquittal in the Senate, though most found the Senate impeachment trial to be unfair, according to a Monmouth University poll released Monday.
Forty-nine percent said they agreed with the Senate vote to acquit Trump on the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress stemming from allegations that he used military aid to pressure Ukraine into opening investigations for his own political benefit. And 47% disapproved of the Senate's vote to acquit.
Independent voters were almost split, approving of acquittal 48%-45%, while 92% of Republicans approved of the vote and 84% of Democrats did not.
While more Americans favored Trump's acquittal, a majority (51%) agreed with the Dec. 18 House vote to impeach him, compared to 46% who disapproved of the impeachment vote.
"We went into the impeachment process with a sharply divided public and we come out of it with a sharply divided public," said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.
Twenty-two percent of the respondents overall – and 56% of Republicans – thought Trump did nothing wrong to warrant impeach in the first place. But another 30% said "some of his actions were improper, but they did not rise to the level of impeachment." And 46% – including 89% of Democrats – said Trump's "actions were definitely grounds for impeachment."
A majority also thought it was time to put the impeachment investigation to rest.
Although 59% disapproved of the Senate's decision not to call witnesses and 58% said the Senate trial was not conducted fairly, only 43% said the House should continue to investigate the Ukraine affair by calling additional witnesses such as former national security adviser John Bolton. Fifty-one percent said it was time to end the investigation.
And 52% (including 89% of Republicans) said it was time to end all House investigations on potentially impeachable offenses, while 44% (including 77% of Democrats) said the House should continue to investigate in its oversight role.
“Where you fall on impeachment may be a litmus test of party loyalty now. The majority of Republicans seem to side with Trump’s claim that his Ukraine call was perfect." Murray said. "There is not a huge appetite, except among Democrats, to keep the impeachment flame alive at this point. Most Americans say it is time to move on."
The impeachment did not have a positive impact on Americans' belief in democracy. Only 6% said watching the process increased their faith in the U.S. system of government, while 48% said it increased their doubts. Another 43% said the impeachment didn't change their outlook one way or another.
The poll was conducted from Feb. 6-9 with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump acquittal favored in poll, but majority wanted Senate witnesses