Arizonans largely opposed the impeachment proceedings before the public hearings began. Did last week’s testimonies change their mind?
One week before the U.S. House of Representatives’ public impeachment hearings began, Phoenix-based data firm OH Predictive Insights conducted found that, while half of registered Arizonan voters disapprove of President Donald Trump, only 42% believe he should be impeached and removed from office.
The pre-hearing polling, conducted by OH Predictive Insights among 900 registered voters, found the largest populations in favor of impeachment skew younger, urban, and Hispanic.
Women are evenly split in their support, while men and those living in rural areas oppose impeachment, according to the polly. The party split is predictable: 79% of Republicans oppose impeachment, and 80% of Democrats are in support.
Statewide, support for Trump increased slightly in the months leading up to the impeachment inquiry. Consulting firm Bendixen and Amandi International conducted a poll in September with a sample of 520 registered voters in Arizona, and found that 45% of those polled approved of the President, while 53% disapproved.
Compare that with OH Predictive Insight’s poll in November, where 46% of respondents approved, and 50% disapproved of the President.
Still, it’s too soon to tell if support for impeachment has changed since the hearings began. Twelve fact witnesses have since appeared before the House Intelligence Committee to provide public testimony regarding allegations that Trump abused his position by pressuring the president of Ukraine to announce intentions to investigate the son of Joe Biden, one of Trump’s potential political opponents in the 2020 elections.
Some of the witnesses include: former National Security Council official Dr. Fiona Hill; Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland; Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council; and Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker.
Volker, who resigned from his position as a result of his role in the impeachment hearings, also left his post at Arizona State University’s McCain Institute for International Leadership, where he served as the executive director. Volker’s departures came shortly after accusations become public that he had been working Sondland in offering, “advice to the Ukrainian leadership about how to ‘navigate’ the demands that the President had made of Mr. Zelenskyy.”
While no longer at the McCain Institute, ASU confirmed in a statement in October that Volker is on paid administrative leave from his other responsibilities at the University until further notice. Volker’s last reported salary from the University was $321,300.
While no representatives from Arizona are on the House Committee, at least two were in attendance: Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Tucson and Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Peoria. Both representatives have long been vocal in their opinions of the Trump Administration.
When the impeachment inquiry was first announced, Grijalva, the longest-serving member of Arizona’s congressional delegation, stated, “I hope my Republican colleagues recognize the gravity of this moment and understand that their ongoing silence makes them complicit in Trump’s disdain of the rule of law and our democracy.” After attending the hearings, he went on the tell the Tucson Sentinel that he considers the hearings, “a serious, sober and, to some extent, solemn process.”
Lesko holds a starkly different view of the hearings. “Democrats have been obsessed with taking down President Donald Trump,” the congresswoman stated when the inquiry began. While attending the hearings, Lesko called them a “sham process” on Twitter and accused Democratic members of Congress of selecting”cherry-picked” witnesses.
NPR member station KJZZ reports that Lesko was one of several Republican representatives who demanded transparency into Laura Cooper’s closed-door testimony, claiming Democrats were not allowing Republicans to participate in the hearings.
However, many who joined Lesko, including Reps. Andy Biggs, R-Gilbert, and Paul Gosar, R-Prescott, were members of the committees conducting the hearings and were invited to attend.
Should the House vote to impeach, removal of Trump from office will be decided by a trial held in the U.S. Senate. While Arizona Sen. Martha McSally is a co-sponsor to Sen. Lindsay Graham’s resolution opposing impeachment, she has largely avoided speaking on the subject publicly.
When asked about impeachment at a special committee meeting in Scottsdale, McSally deflected, stating, “The House is doing what they’re doing. In the meantime, the Senate is doing our work in order to do what matters for Arizonans.”
Similarly, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema has avoided talking about impeachment and remains largely silent on the issue. When asked about it during an interview with Politico, she responded, “that’s not my job, that’s not my role,” and left it at that.