Recent interviews of Hoosier voters conducted by CNHI News Indiana indicate that the state, like the country, is riven by the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
A POLITICO/Morning Consult poll of about 2,000 voters released recently showed that 50% of voters nationally support the inquiry, while 41% oppose it. The poll also showed the vast majority of Americans are entrenched in their positions, with 62% saying there's no chance they'll change their minds and just 2 percent saying there's a strong chance they'll do so.
Among dozens of Hoosier voters interviewed this fall, only a few said they would keep an open mind during the inquiry's public phase.
Lorena M. Turchi, 93, isn't going to change her mind.
A lifelong Republican, Turchi is vice chairperson of the Vermillion County Republican Party. In the November general election, she won a district seat on Clinton City Council.
"The impeachment inquiry is not justified," said Turchi, a fierce supporter of the president.
"Naturally, I would back him all the way," she said. "I don't like and I don't appreciate the way they criticize him. I think he is doing his very best to run this country. I like that he is straightforward and tells it like it is."
While Trump won Indiana handily during the 2016 presidential election, those Hoosiers who opposed him continue to stand their ground.
Steve Powaga, a 39-year-old married father of three who graduated from Notre Dame, lives in Versailles and works in quantitative finance. He has no doubt that Trump has abused the power of his office.
"It is the constitutional duty of the House of Representatives to begin an inquiry,” Powaga said. ”Donald Trump has sought to use the powers of his public office for personal gain, and this is unacceptable for every elected official from dog catcher up to the presidency.”
Between absolute Trump defenders and absolute Trump detractors, some Hoosiers don't know what or whom to believe.
Bryan Sheward, a civil engineer in Boone County, thinks the impeachment hearings are just noise.
“I don’t think he necessarily says the smartest thing all the time,” Sheward said of Trump. “He probably doesn’t do himself any favors, and I think it’s important in a democracy to make sure there’s not blatant corruption going on. But it’s hard to tell what’s truth and what’s lie and what’s noise these days.
“Most Americans are probably more irritated by, not necessarily what he’s doing, but just the whole system’s out for who is going to be in the seat next, rather than what’s best for the constituents.”
Leone Petry, 70, of Goshen was skeptical about the impeachment inquiry at first.
“Initially, I was against the impeachment proceedings because of cost," Petry said. "It doesn’t remove a president from office, it just impeaches them for acts. Then, I heard a historian talking about the value of the impeachment process, and I changed my mind. If a president is found guilty of impeachable acts, he should be impeached.”
Other Hoosiers express greater certainty, based on their support for or opposition to Trump.
Nondas Blair, 77, of Lapel is one of them.
“There is such a hatred for the president that they have scales over their eyes,” Blair said of Democrats. “They have been after him and his family since he took office."
Blair said that, with the presidential election just a year away, any investigation should have been delayed.
“I think they jumped the gun,” she said. “Let the American people speak. The people elected him, and they should be listening to the voice of the people.”
The impeachment inquiry has not only further exposed entrenched political views in Indiana, it's also coloring how Hoosiers see one another.
“I don’t want to say they are brainwashed, but they are going to believe no matter what,” Greg Stovall, 51 of Anderson said of Trump followers. "People are dead set in their thinking.”