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Poll: Half of Americans believe Senate should convict Trump in impeachment trial

Half of Americans believe the Senate should convict former President TrumpDonald TrumpHouse passes voting rights and elections reform bill DEA places agent seen outside Capitol during riot on leave Georgia Gov. Kemp says he'd 'absolutely' back Trump as 2024 nominee MORE of inciting an insurrection, according to a Marist poll released Monday.

With Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate drawing closer, 50 percent of Americans believe that the Senate should find the now-former president guilty for his role in stoking the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol that left five people, including a Capitol Police officer, dead.

Forty-one percent of respondents said Trump should be acquitted, according to the Marist poll.

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Trump’s impeachment trial — his second in little more than a year — is set to begin Feb. 8, weeks after the House voted to impeach him after the riot. 

The impeachment case focuses on Trump’s rhetoric before and during the storming of the Capitol by a mob of his supporters, who sought to disrupt the congressional certification of the Electoral College results showing President Biden as the victor.

At one point before the riot broke out, Trump urged supporters in a speech to “walk down to the Capitol” and insisted that they “will never take our country back with weakness.” Even as his supporters stormed the Capitol, the former president appeared at times to condone their behavior, calling the rioters “great patriots” in a since-deleted tweet.

The episode sparked a bipartisan outrage, with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle placing the blame for the insurrection squarely on Trump. 

Still, there’s a stark partisan divide when it comes to the question of whether the Senate should convict him. 

Ninety percent of Democrats said Trump should be found guilty of inciting the insurrection, while only 5 percent believe he should be acquitted, according to the Marist poll.

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Conversely, 90 percent of Republicans want to see Trump acquitted in the trial. Only 5 percent of those respondents said he should be convicted.

Independents, meanwhile, are somewhat more divided. A plurality of those respondents — 49 percent — believe Trump should be convicted in his Senate trial, while 39 percent want to see the former president exonerated. 

To be sure, it appears highly unlikely that enough senators will vote to convict Trump. At least 67 senators would need to vote to find the former president guilty. Even if each of the chamber’s 50 Democrats voted to convict him, at least 17 Republican members would have to join them.

That’s a tall order. In the clearest indication yet that Trump is unlikely to be convicted for inciting the insurrection, all but five Senate Republicans voted last week to toss out the case against the former president, saying trying a president no longer in office would be unconstitutional.

The Marist poll surveyed 1,313 U.S. adults from Jan. 24-27. It has a margin of sampling error of 3.3 percentage points.