American voters are nearly evenly divided over the impeachment of President Donald Trump, views that have gone unchanged since last month despite weeks of long debates and public hearings, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.
Forty-eight percent of voters are against the president's impeachment, while 47% support it. Trump is accused of abusing his power by pressuring the Ukraine president to investigate political rival and former Vice President Joe Biden.
"It's like the hearings have never happened," said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion. "The arguments have only served to reinforce existing views and everyone is rooting for their side."
The poll also found that Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders are leading the Democratic presidential field. They collectively receive about half the support of Democratic voters and left-leaning independents.
Biden is leading the crowded field of candidates with 24%, followed by Sanders at 22%. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has 17%; Pete Buttigieg 13%; Andrew Yang 5%; and Mike Bloomberg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Sen. Cory Booker are at 4%.
Julian Castro, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and Sen. Michael Bennet all have 1%, the poll shows.
Biden is polling best with white women without a college degree, moderates, people earning less than $50,000 a year and people from the South. Sanders leads with nonwhite voters, progressives, people from urban areas and the Northeast and men, according to the poll.
About two-thirds of the people surveyed said that they are happy about the pool of Democratic candidates, though three-quarters said they could switch to supporting a different candidate.
The next presidential primary debate is scheduled for Thursday at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, but all seven Democrats who qualify have threatened to skip it as they pledge support for workers in a contract dispute at the school.
The survey of 1,744 adults was conducted between Dec. 9 and 11 by the Marist Poll using live telephone callers via cellphone and landline and has a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points. There were 1,508 registered voters surveyed, and where they are referenced, the poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.7 percentage points. There were 704 Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents surveyed, and where they are referenced, results have a +/- 5.4 percentage point margin of error.