US is split on Trump's removal from office, while top Dems lead him in 2020 race, NBC/WSJ poll finds

Key Points
  • Voters are just about evenly divided on whether the Senate should remove President Donald Trump from office ahead of a vote this week, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. 
  • Even so, a majority of voters think the president abused his power and obstructed Congress. 
  • The survey also finds the top Democratic presidential candidates leading Trump in hypothetical head-to-head matchups. 
President Donald Trump boards Air Force One as he departs Washington for travel to Michigan at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, January 30, 2020.
Leah Millis | Reuters

Voters are roughly split on whether the Senate should remove President Donald Trump from the White House ahead of a historic vote slated for this week, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Sunday.

The survey found 46% of registered voters say the chamber should vote to remove the president from office, while 49% think it should not do so. Even so, 52% of respondents believe Trump abused his power by asking a foreign government to investigate a political opponent, and 53% say he obstructed Congress by not cooperating with the impeachment investigation. Those are the two charges the House leveled against the president in the articles of impeachment it passed in December.

The poll also found 39% of voters think the Senate has enough information to make its decision, while 37% say it needs to collect more information. Another 22% responded that they do not know enough to say. The GOP-held chamber voted against calling additional witnesses Friday in a 51-49 vote.

The poll, conducted Jan. 26-29, comes only a few days before the Senate is expected to acquit Trump on Wednesday. The trial started about two weeks ago, and Democrats had pushed for the chamber to seek more documents and testimony from former national security advisor John Bolton, among others.

The House charged Trump with abusing his power by urging Ukraine to investigate 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter as his administration withheld critical military aid. It also charged him with obstructing the congressional probe into his conduct.

The poll also gauged who voters would choose in hypothetical general election matchups between Trump and Biden and other top 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. The first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses on Monday start the process of voters choosing which Democrat will face Trump in November.

The former Vice President Biden fares best against Trump in the early head-to-head surveys. He leads the incumbent by a 50% to 44% margin, the poll found.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has a 4-percentage point advantage, 49% to 45%. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., leads 48% to 45%.

Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg has a 1 percentage point edge, 46% to 45%.

Biden, Sanders and Warren all hold smaller leads over Trump than they did in a December survey.

Biden and Sanders are jockeying for position at the top of the Democratic field. The poll found the pair in a virtual tie nationally among Democratic primary voters. Sanders has a 27% to 26% edge over Biden.

Polling averages in the first three nominating states of Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada show potentially competitive contests, while Biden has enjoyed big leads in the fourth state of South Carolina.

The poll surveyed 1,000 registered voters and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.1 percentage points.

Subscribe to CNBC on YouTube.

Senate votes 51-49 against witnesses in impeachment trial