(CNSNews.com) – At the start of a week that could see the third presidential impeachment in U.S. history, President Trump came out fighting on Sunday, dismissing as “ridiculous” a Fox News poll in which half 50 percent of registered voters said he should be impeached and removed from office.
Forty-one percent of respondents said Trump should not be impeached at all, and four percent said that he should be impeached by the House, but not removed from office in a Senate trial.
The number marks a small increase – one percent – in support for impeachment and removal since a late October poll, and no change to the number saying Trump should not be impeached at all. (The single percentage point change came in the “Don’t know” column.)
The poll, conducted from December 8-11 and released on Sunday, also found that each of the major Democratic 2020 presidential candidate, should they be their party’s nominee, would beat Trump in the general election if it were to be held now.
Trump fired back on Twitter on Sunday afternoon.
“The @foxnewPolls, always inaccurate, are heavily weighted toward Dems. So ridiculous – same thing happened in 2016. They got it all wrong. Get a new pollster!”
Minutes later, he tweeted again.
“Approval Rating in Republican Party = 95%, a Record! Overall Approval Rating = 51%. Think of where I’d be without the never ending, 24 hour a day, phony Witch Hunt, that started 3 years ago!”
In its latest daily approval rating poll, on Friday, Rasmussen found 49 percent approval for Trump. Two days earlier he was on 51 percent approval. (Going back to the beginning of September, the president’s Rasmussen approval rating has ranged from a low of 45 to a high of 53 percent.)
The Fox News poll was conducted under the joint direction of Beacon Research (formerly Anderson Robbins Research), a Democratic polling company, and Shaw & Company, a Republican polling firm. It carries a plus or minus three percentage points margin of error for the full sample.
The political identification of respondents in the poll was 46 percent solid or leaning Democrat, 41 percent solid or leaning Republican, and 12 percent independent or “other.”
The poll suggested that, were the presidential election to be held today, Trump would lose to the four leading Democrats vying for their party’s nomination, by varying degrees:
If former Vice President Joe Biden were the nominee, registered voter respondent said they would vote for him over Trump by 48 percent to 41, while Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) would beat Trump by 49 points to 43.
Match-ups against Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg were much closer, with Trump losing to either candidate by just a single percentage point (45-46 percent against Warren; 42-43 percent against Buttigieg.)
Although the poll gives Biden a seven-point advantage over Trump, that is actually positive news for the president. The last time the margin between them was that small in the Fox News poll was last March. Since then Biden has led Trump by between 10 and 14 points – until now.
Impeachment, the Bidens and Ukraine
The House Judiciary Committee on Friday voted along party lines to send two articles of impeachment – charging Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – to the House floor for a vote.
The push to impeach Trump centers on accusations that he abused his position by linking U.S. military support for Ukraine to President Volodymyr Zelensky’s cooperation in investigating corruption claims involving Biden’s son, Hunter Biden. Zelensky himself has repeatedly denied having come under any pressure from Trump.
Trump has claimed that Biden while vice president sought to disrupt a corruption probe targeting Burisma, a Ukrainian natural gas company, by pressuring the Ukrainian government to fire its prosecutor general, at a time when Hunter Biden was on the board of Burisma.
In the Fox News poll, the proportion of respondents saying they find “extremely” troubling Trump’s “allegations about Joe Biden and his son’s business dealings in Ukraine and China” has risen to 22 percent, from 19 percent in early October.
The proportion saying they find the allegations “not at all” troubling has dropped by two points over that same period, from 32 points to 30.
In other questions, 49 percent of respondents said they believe congressional Democrats really think Trump committed an impeachable offense, while 43 percent said they believe the Democrats merely want to hurt the president politically.
On the other hand, 36 percent of respondents said they believe congressional Republicans truly do not think Trump committed an impeachable offense, while 52 percent said they believe Republicans merely want to protect the president politically.
Thirty-eight percent of respondents said they would be more likely to vote for their congressional representative if he or she voted to impeach Trump; 36 percent said less likely; and 10 percent said it would make no difference to their voting intention.
Asked whether they think U.S. intelligence agencies like the FBI broke the law in how they investigated the Trump campaign in probing Russian interference in the 2016 election, 22 percent of respondents said that was extremely likely; 14 percent said very likely; 17 percent said somewhat likely; and 32 percent said that it was not at all likely.