The second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump will begin on Tuesday as Senators deliberate whether the Republican leader incited violence in encouraging his supporters to go to the US Capitol building on January 6.
A new CBS News/YouGov poll shows that most Americans believe Trump’s words and actions leading up to the events at the Capitol encouraged violence (56%), and they want the Senate to convict him (56%) for the charge already approved by the House of Representatives. Nine in 10 Democrats (90%) support the conviction, and four in five (83%) Republicans are against it.
Republicans continue to prioritize allegiance to the former president. Three-quarters of Republicans (73%) say that loyalty to President Trump is very (46%) or somewhat (27%) important to them. Republicans tend to believe that the impeachment trial is “a distraction from other issues” (84%) and “unnecessary because Trump is out of office” (81%). Only one-quarter of Republicans (23%) believe that the trial is designed to “hold Trump accountable” for his actions, compared to three in five Americans overall (59%) who believe this.
A handful of Republican senators may vote to convict the former president, even as the party opposes it. Three in five Americans (60%) call the Republicans who either voted to impeach Trump or who might vote to convict him “principled,” but seven in 10 Republicans (71%) call them “disloyal.” Four in five individuals who voted for Trump in 2020 (81%) describe the Republicans who crossed party lines to vote against Trump as disloyal.
Emphasizing the former president’s hold over the GOP, one-third (33%) of Republicans say they would follow Trump to a new political party if he decided to separate from the Republican Party. About as many Republicans (30%) say they would not leave the Republican party, and 37% are uncertain. Among those who voted for Trump in the 2020 presidential election, leaving the Republican Party is only slightly more popular: 37% say they would while 26% would not.
Methodology: This CBS News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 2,508 U.S. residents interviewed between February 5-8, 2021. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, as well as the 2020 presidential vote and registration status. The margin of error is ±2.3 points.