If House Democrats thought that by impeaching President Donald Trump would politically wound him heading into 2020, a new poll shows they were way off.
According to a new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey released Saturday as the Senate begins concluding the impeachment trial of the president, the number of voters who "strongly approve" of the nation's 45th commander in chief has hit a "new high."
Democratic pollster: Attitudes about Trump have 'barely budged'
As USA Today noted, 46 percent of registered voters told researchers they approved of the job Trump was doing in office, while a little more than half (51 percent) disapproved. The five-point difference between the two is an improvement for Trump from the 10-point (44-54) gap the same pollsters found in December.
"We've been through an impeachment inquiry in the House, a trial in the Senate, and America's attitudes about Donald Trump have hardly budged," Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt, who conducted the survey with GOP strategist Bill McInturff, said.
In fact, the impeachment process may have even boosted Trump's numbers. USA Today reported that 36 percent of respondents indicated they "strongly" approved of his performance, the highest number since Trump took office. Additionally, one-third (33 precent) said they had "very positive" feelings about Trump, another high for the president.
Voters do not support removing Trump from office
Additionally, the NBC survey found that a slight plurality of voters favor the Senate acquitting Trump of the Democrats' impeachment allegations. Even though most respondents said they believe Trump likely abused his power and obstructed Congress, they do not think it rises to the level of meriting impeachment and removal from office.
Forty-nine percent of respondents said the Senate should not vote to remove the president, while 46 percent said it should. This is an improvement for Trump compared to a survey taken at the end of October, while House's impeachment investigation was underway, when 49 percent said at the time they supported removing Trump from office and 46 percent were opposed.
Meanwhile, Democrats have failed to convince voters that the Senate lacks sufficient evidence to make a decision in its impeachment trial. Thirty-nine percent of respondents told the NBC/WSJ pollsters the Senate has enough information to make a decision, while 37 percent said it needs to collect more data.
Despite the Democrats' efforts to tarnish Trump's image, the impeachment effort seems to have failed to move the needle. Fifty-seven percent of voters said the hearings have not changed their view of the president one way or the other, while 16 percent said it made them more confident in Trump and 27 percent less confident in him as president.
Trump is more liked than leading Democrats
Trump also appears to be viewed more favorably than other major political figures the pollsters examined. Forty-three percent of voters said they have a positive image of the president, the highest of any of the politicians with comparable name recognition levels.
A total of 35 percent of respondents said they have a positive image of former vice president Joe Biden while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is viewed favorably by just one-third of voters.
Although he is less known, only a quarter (25 percent) of voters view House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff positively, while 32 percent view him negatively.
The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll was conducted Jan. 26-29 and interviewed 1,000 registered voters.