ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — While the latest poll shows Floridians are almost equally divided about whether President Trump should be impeached, the sentiment was overwhelmingly in support of the House of Representatives delivering the ultimate political sanction to the president at a rally in St. Petersburg’s Straub Park on Tuesday evening.

  • Poll: 46% of Floridians support impeachment, while 50% oppose
  • Nearly 300 people attended impeachment rally in St. Pete
  • Republicans say impeachment is "political suicide" for Dems

The crowd – estimated at around 300 people – was one of over 600 “Nobody is Above the Law" rallies coordinated by that were held across the country, including in Tampa and Bradenton.

(Photo Courtesy of Mitch Perry/Spectrum Bay News 9)

Among those in attendance was decorated Korean War Veteran Bill Slavins, 92, who said that the president should not only be impeached, “but thrown in jail.”

“I spent 24 years in the military. I’m a West Point grad, twice wounded in combat, and I learned from my parents to build bridges, not fences. Not walls,” he said, adding that he left the Republican Party upon Trump taking office.

Unlike the impeachment of Bill Clinton almost exactly 21 years ago to the day, the countdown to the impeachment of Donald Trump has been much less dramatic. Almost every Democrat in the House was expected to vote for at least one of the two articles of impeachment introduced, while nearly every Republican was expected to oppose them.

And with the U.S. Senate in Republican hands, it seems inevitable that Trump will remain in office.

But to many of those in attendance at the rally, terms like "morality" and the U.S. Constitution are what this is about, and not pure politics.

“You can’t let his behavior go unchecked,” said St. Petersburg resident Kate Durica. “If you had a bad dog, and he pooped and ate your purse and he chewed up your shoes, are you going to wait a year to spank him and go, ‘no, no. You can’t do that?’ You gotta do it now. You can’t let it go further.”

(Photo Courtesy of Mitch Perry/Spectrum Bay News 9)

A poll released Wednesday morning from Mason-Dixon of 625 Floridians showed a polarized Florida electorate on the issue of impeachment.  The survey showed that a 50 percent oppose impeachment, while 46 percent support it. It’s even closer in the Tampa Bay area, with 47 percent in support and 48 percent opposed.

“Despite all the action swirling around them, voter views of Trump are not changing in any direction,” said pollster Brad Coker. “Right now, it does not look like 2020 is going to be any different than 2016. The state’s electoral votes appear to be in the hands of a small number of unaffiliated voters.”

Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by 1.2 percent in Florida in 2016.

Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist’s Pinellas County district went for Clinton by four points in 2016, though the county overall supported Trump. Crist was among the last Democrats to announce his support for impeachment on Tuesday.

“This is a sad, painful, and divisive situation for our nation,” Crist said in a statement, which he posted on his Twitter feed. “But impeachment is the direct result of the President’s own words and actions. And we have a duty to our Oath of Office and the Constitution to not stand silent.”

"When the president withheld military aid to vulnerable Ukraine and pressed for a personal 'favor' to manufacture dirt against a political opponent, he went too far," said Tampa Democratic U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor in a statement.  "He undermined America’s national security. He sought to sabotage our election."

Republicans say the Democrats are making a terrible mistake.

“African-Americans, Hispanics and women are all enjoying record low unemployment. Simply put – America is winning across the board under President Trump,” said Christian Ziegler, the vice-chair of the Republican Party of Florida.

“Yet rather than working with the President to make our country better, Democrats are focused on a ridiculous and baseless political effort to impeach," he added. "The benefit of all of this is that the impeachment vote is political suicide for the Democrats representing districts Trump won in 2016, and it has opened a path for us to not just reelect Trump and keep the Senate in 2020, but take the House as well.”

Deborah Tamargo, the former chair of the Hillsborough County Republican Executive Committee, cited the recent Justice Department Inspector General report that said that there was abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) by the FBI in the investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 election.

“All of these schemes (Russia, Ukraine, FISA) are connected and are just taxpayer-funded Democrat campaign ads,” she told Spectrum Bay News 9. “Sad chapter in history when the FBI and Congress become the criminals.”

Following the impeachment of the president, a Senate trial will begin in January to decide his fate.