- The Senate is deeply divided along partisan lines on the question of whether to call witnesses to testify in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.
- But voters aren’t totally falling in line.
- Overall, just 13% of American adults don’t see a need for witnesses, while 65% want some combination of witnesses — either just the direct witnesses, just indirect witnesses, or both.
- More likely Republican voters want to see some form of witness testimony during the trial than those who don’t want to hear from witnesses.
- And likely Democratic voters are split on whether indirect witnesses, including Hunter Biden and the Ukraine whistleblower, should testify.
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The Senate is deeply divided along partisan lines on the question of whether to call witnesses to testify in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.
While Democrats appear united in demanding key witnesses, namely individuals who directly witnessed Trump’s Ukraine pressure campaign, Republicans are almost all opposed to opening the trial up to new evidence. The chamber is preparing for a vote on the issue likely on Friday.
But voters are less divided along partisan lines, according to recent Insider polling.
When asked, “What best describes your view about the impeachment proceedings?”, just 13% of American adults said they “don’t see a need for witnesses,” while 65% want some combination of witnesses — either just the direct witnesses, just indirect witnesses, or both.
- 23% of Americans “think witnesses should testify, but only those who directly witnessed Trump’s conduct”
- 21% of Americans “think the Senate should call direct witnesses, as well as people who were not direct witnesses to Trump’s conduct, like Hunter Biden and the whistleblower”
- 13% of American adults said they “don’t see a need for witnesses”
- 5% of Americans “think witnesses should testify, but not people who worked for the president, only people like Hunter Biden or the whistleblower”
- 21% replied, “I don’t know”
More Republican voters want to see some form of witness testimony during than who don’t want to hear from witnesses. While 37% of voters who said they would likely cast their ballots for the 2020 Republican nominee don’t see a need for any witnesses, 45% want some combination of witnesses to testify.
Democrats are pushing to hear from four key witnesses, including acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton, both of whom were direct witnesses to the president’s pressure campaign on Ukraine that is at the center of impeachment.
Republican leadership — and the majority of the GOP caucus — is staunchly opposed to calling witnesses. They’re arguing a few things, among them that they already have all the information they need to come to a judgment and that calling witnesses will drag the trial out indefinitely.
But many GOP lawmakers say if the Senate votes to call witnesses, they’ll call the former vice president’s son, Hunter Biden. A lawyer and lobbyist, Biden served on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company, Burisma Holdings, from 2014 to 2019.
Trump’s request that the Ukrainian government investigate possible corruption committed by both Hunter and his father in their dealings with Ukraine is at the center of the president’s impeachment trial.
Democratic voters are also aren’t taking their cues from their party.
Voters who said they were likely to cast their ballot for the 2020 Democratic nominee were split on whether indirect witnesses should testify. About 42% think witnesses should be limited to those who have direct knowledge of Trump’s actions toward Ukraine, while 40% think the Senate should hear from both direct and indirect witnesses, including Hunter Biden and the Ukraine whistleblower.
About 20% of Republican voters want to hear from direct witnesses while 16% want to hear from both direct and indirect witnesses.
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SurveyMonkey Audience polls from a national sample balanced by census data of age and gender. Respondents are incentivized to complete surveys through charitable contributions. Generally speaking, digital polling tends to skew toward people with access to the internet. SurveyMonkey Audience doesn’t try to weigh its sample based on race or income. A total of 1,078 respondents were collected January 29-30, 2020, a margin of error plus or minus 3 percentage points with a 95% confidence level.