Government

Hawkeye Poll: Majority of Iowans oppose impeachment inquiry, fewer approve of Trump's performance

UI students and faculty conducted the survey

President Donald Trump delivers remarks on honesty and transparency in health care prices Friday at the White House in Washington, D.C. (Reuters)
President Donald Trump delivers remarks on honesty and transparency in health care prices Friday at the White House in Washington, D.C. (Reuters)

A majority of Iowans oppose the U.S. House impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. However, that’s not necessarily a vote of support for the president.

According to a Hawkeye Poll, 53 percent of Iowans oppose the House Intelligence Committee impeachment inquiry, while 45 percent support it. At the same time, 46 percent of the 1,288 registered voters sampled approve of the president’s performance, while 49 percent disapprove.

Unsurprisingly, Democrats (91 percent support) and Republicans (93 percent oppose) were nearly unanimous in their views on the impeachment investigation.

University of Iowa students and faculty who conducted the poll from Oct. 28 to Nov. 10 completed their work just as the House Intelligence Committee began public hearings. However, Frederick Boehmke, professor of political science and faculty adviser for the poll, doubts the results would change significantly if the poll was done today.

“I wouldn’t expect there to be a lot because for most people, their opinions on this are well developed,” Boehmke said. “There is a very partisan narrative for both sides. Independents is where you could see some shift.”

Opposition strongest among men

In fact, he said, independents provided the decisive margin with 54 percent opposing and 42 percent supporting the investigation that could lead to the full House voting for articles of impeachment.

Opposition to the inquiry was strongest among men (60 percent) and rural voters (66 percent), while majorities of women (52 percent), suburban (52 percent) and urban (58 percent) voters support it.

Iowans opposed the impeachment inquiry despite a plurality of 47 percent reporting who think Trump was pursuing his personal interest in his dealings with Ukraine. Forty percent said he was pursuing the national interest.

The results broke down clearly along party lines, with 93 percent of Democrats responding that they thought he was acting in his own interest, compared with 45 percent of independents and 7 percent of Republicans. Women (54 percent) were more likely to believe that he acted out of self-interest more than men (40 percent), as were urban (60 percent) and suburban (53 percent) voters compared with rural voters (37 percent).

A year ahead of the 2020 presidential election, Trump’s approval rating in Iowa is at 46 percent, down from the 51 percent who voted for him in 2016. His disapproval rating is higher at 49 percent. Independents provide most of this gap with 44 percent approving and 47 percent disapproving.

No direct correlation between impeachment and job performance

More Iowans opposing impeachment than approving of the president might seem curious, but Boehmke said there’s not a direct correlation.

“You can think the president is not doing a great job, but you can also think the impeachment is a witch hunt, unnecessary or rigged,” he said.

Voters also may be looking at a broader range of issues than just impeachment, Boehmke said.

For example, 57 percent of rural voters, who would include those most affected by Trump’s actions on tariffs and renewable fuels, still are on his side.

“I think there’s a split between how people think the tariffs have been so far and what they think they will accomplish in the long run,” Boehmke said.

Although it may not be apparent that the tariffs are helping Iowa farmers and manufacturers, “among Republicans and rural voters there is a belief that in the long run they’re going to work out for the better,” he said. “There is a hope and a belief this is the right course of action and in the long run it will pay off and have benefits.”

The Hawkeye Poll has a margin of error of 2.8 percent.

The full results can be found here.

Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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