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Poll finds growing support for Trump impeachment among New Yorkers

A poll out Tuesday finds that the majority of New Yorkers approve of the impeachment inquiry conducted by House Democrats against President Donald Trump.

That’s not unusual in a blue state like New York, but the Siena College poll finds some broader shifts in voter sentiment regarding impeachment that could be worrisome to the president.

The poll finds that by a 55% to 38% margin, New Yorkers support impeaching and removing Trump. The data reveals that depending on their party affiliation, New Yorkers continue to be deeply divided on the issue, said Siena poll spokesman Steve Greenberg.

In a state that has a 2-to-1 Democratic edge, 79% of Democrats back impeachment, while 81% of Republicans are against impeachment. Independents are closely divided on the issue -- 49% support impeachment, and 47% oppose it.

The poll also found younger voters are more in favor of impeachment than older voters are.

The survey then dug deeper, and asked whether voters believe that Trump has done anything that warrants an impeachment investigation, and whether the House of Representatives is justified in conducting the impeachment inquiry.

Sixty percent say the president appears to have done something wrong, and 62% say the House should investigate. Greenberg said the numbers are higher on those questions because slightly more Republicans agree that the inquiry is justified and that the president might have done something wrong. Most who identify with the GOP, however, said they believe the president should not be investigated by Congress.

Greenberg said the difference lies in the opinions of independent voters.

“Independent voters, on those questions, side with Democrats by about 15 to 20 points,” Greenberg said.

Another question asks who voters trust more to tell the truth, Trump or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; the latter won by a margin of 57% to 30%.

The poll also asked Democrats about their preference for a presidential candidate, and found Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is now even with former Vice President Joe Biden, with both at 21%. In August, Biden was five points ahead of Warren.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders now has 16%, and California Sen. Kamala Harris and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg each have 4%. Schenectady native and entrepreneur Andrew Yang has the support of 3% of Democrats. The rest have the backing of 1% or less of the electorate.

And the poll finds that, for the first time, a plurality of New Yorkers say they support a new law that allows undocumented immigrants to apply for standard driver's licenses.

The law is set to take effect in mid-December and would make New York the 13th state to allow the licenses.

In previous surveys by Siena College, the measure was opposed by over half of New Yorkers, but Greenberg said that’s changing. In the latest poll, 48% support the measure, while 47% remain against it.

“Virtually break-even,” said Greenberg. “But it has gone up virtually every time Siena has asked the question.”

The law faces a court challenge from two upstate county clerks, in Erie and Rensselaer counties.

The New York Immigration Coalition, which contends the law will make the roadways safer, said in a statement that the poll confirms what they have been saying all along: “The more people learn how granting all immigrants access to driver’s licenses makes our roadways safer and strengthens our communities, the more they support it.”

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau chief for the New York Public News Network, composed of a dozen newsrooms across the state. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.