Undecided Voters On Impeachment
LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
We're going to check in now with voters and how impeachment may impact their eventual decision. President Trump says impeachment is a political winner for him. But over the course of the process, more Americans have warmed to the idea than come to reject it. As the poll aggregate at FiveThirtyEight shows, more Americans are pro-impeachment now than anti- narrowly - 48% to 46. We're in an unprecedented situation. Donald Trump is the first president seeking reelection who is being impeached. So what's happening is a concern for Americans not just as citizens but also as voters.
MADISON BEISSENER: So my name is Madison Beissener (ph). I am from the Brainerd Lakes area, so Brainerd, Minn. And I am 23.
JENNIFER ALVAREZ: My name is Jennifer Alvarez (ph). I'm 33. I live in San Luis, Ariz. It's the main port of entry to Mexico, hole in the wall city.
JOHN EATON: My name is John Eaton (ph). I'm from Northwest Arkansas, and I'm a maintenance chief at a natural science center.
NEIL HAINES: Neil Haines (ph). I live in Gettysburg, Pa. I'm a registered Republican with more down the middle, almost libertarian-type beliefs.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Haines works as an auto mechanic. And Pennsylvania is a key state that Trump won in 2016. Haines says his identification with the GOP has softened over time, and he's more and more drawn to authentic candidates, like, he says, Bernie Sanders or Tulsi Gabbard. But he voted for Donald Trump once, and he could again.
HAINES: Is he doing as bad as everybody says on the left? No. Is he doing as great as everybody says on the right? No.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: And he's not convinced about impeaching Trump.
HAINES: I feel like it's more of a witch hunt, last ditch effort than it is anything of solid impeachable basis.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Over in Arizona, Jennifer Alvarez is also cool on impeachment.
ALVAREZ: I've been finding it more as a waste of time and misuse of resources.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: She says she's leaning Trump in 2020, but the border is complicating things. On the one hand, she lives there, and immigration and the wall on the southern border is a Trump passion project. On the other hand, she has family trying to immigrate. And the administration is making that harder and harder.
ALVAREZ: My family personally has been trying to do it the correct way. One of my brother-in-laws - he can't come over. And they say you have to come up with X amount of dollars within X amount of days to continue things. And making the prices even higher makes it even that much more difficult for people to come over.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Arkansan John Eaton is an environmentalist and union supporter who voted for Barack Obama and Jill Stein.
EATON: I'm open-minded to voting for Donald Trump. I know what kind of, you know, figure he's been in the media. And I kind of feel like he's a little bit of an embarrassment. Same time, I am a results-oriented person, and things are kind of going pretty well right now.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Eaton says he's open to voting for a Democrat in 2020. And he doesn't want the impeachment process to make the decision for him.
EATON: It almost looks weak on the opposing party when they kind of go after the candidate instead of going after the next election.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: In 2016, voters in Minnesota's Crow Wing County favored Trump overwhelmingly by 63%. Madison Beissener didn't. She voted for Hillary Clinton, though not enthusiastically. Now she's more energized no matter what happens with impeachment.
BEISSENER: Yeah, that'd be nice if it happens. But at the same time, that's not something I ever got my hopes up about. It was more, how are we going to do in the election?
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So what do these voters want out of the next election? What issues are driving their votes?
BEISSENER: Even though I make OK money, for me to live by myself, to have a car payment, just all of it and then pay an $800 a month student loan payment - it's like, how do you want me to be able to buy a house? Like, how do you want me to have a savings account? So I want a president that is looking into that.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's Madison Beissener from Minnesota.
ALVAREZ: The elderly, the whole Medicare, Social Security system - if that could be fixed...
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Jennifer Alvarez of Arizona.
HAINES: Our nation's deficit, our lack of care for homeless and underprivileged. We make in this country a whole lot of money, and it feels like we're doing nothing about it.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: And Neil Haines of Pennsylvania. We also heard from John Eaton of Arkansas. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.