Support for impeaching Trump hits new high

The new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll comes as at least a half-dozen other media outlets have released surveys showing support for impeachment rising. The polls suggest that Democrats are gaining support for the impeachment inquiry as the Ukraine scandal unspools. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had resisted escalating the House’s investigations of Trump because of the political…

The new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll comes as at least a half-dozen other media outlets have released surveys showing support for impeachment rising. The polls suggest that Democrats are gaining support for the impeachment inquiry as the Ukraine scandal unspools. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had resisted escalating the House’s investigations of Trump because of the political risks, but the latest surveys suggest the party is unlikely to bleed support from Democratic voters over the decision to challenge Trump head-on.

Still, the move isn’t without risk. The percentage of voters who disapprove of Trump’s job performance in the latest poll, 56 percent, still exceeds the 46 percent who think Congress should begin impeachment proceedings to remove him, or the 51 percent who say they support the current impeachment inquiry — a step short of actual impeachment proceedings. Those findings indicate that there is a slice of moderate voters who disapprove of Trump but think Democrats are going too far.

And when the polls ask specifically about removing Trump from office, voters are sharply divided or tilt against it. In a Monmouth University poll released Tuesday, 49 percent of voters called the impeachment inquiry a “good idea,” while 43 percent said it was a “bad idea.” But only 44 percent said Trump should be forced out of office, fewer than the 52 percent who said he shouldn’t.

While the 44 percent who think Trump should be booted from the White House is a new high for the Monmouth poll, pollster Patrick Murray noted that it’s within the margin of error of the previous high. “Yes, support for impeachment has increased over the last week, but it’s not significantly higher than where it has been at other points in Trump’s presidency,” Murray said. “At least not yet.”

POLITICO and Morning Consult have been tracking voters’ support for starting impeachment proceedings to remove Trump since early 2018. Until last week, the previous high-water mark was 42 percent, in August 2018. But that was eclipsed by the 43 percent figure last week, and then again by the 46 percent measure in the new poll.

Voters are becoming even more divided along partisan lines on impeachment. The POLITICO/Morning Consult poll shows eight-in-10 Democrats support starting impeachment proceedings, while only 11 percent oppose that. Among Republicans, only 9 percent support impeachment proceedings, compared to 85 percent who oppose. Independents are split: 43 percent support beginning impeachment proceedings, while 39 percent are in opposition.

Among the 41 percent of all voters who approve of the job Trump is doing as president, only 5 percent say Congress should begin impeachment proceedings against him, while 88 percent say Congress should not.

But not all of the 56 percent of voters who disapprove of Trump’s job performance in the new poll are on board with impeachment. Just under eight-in-10 of those who disapprove of Trump, 78 percent, say Congress should begin impeachment proceedings, while 11 percent say Congress should not and 12 percent are undecided.

Of those who think Congress should begin impeachment proceedings, 58 percent say it’s because Trump committed an impeachable offense, such as treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors. By comparison, 38 percent of pro-impeachment voters say Trump “has proven he is unfit to serve and should be removed,” even if he hasn’t committed an impeachable offense.

During his 2016 campaign for president, Trump bragged that he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot someone, and I wouldn’t lose any voters.” Hyperbole aside, the POLITICO/Morning Consult poll put that to the test: 62 percent of voters said Trump “could do something that would cause me to support impeaching him and removing him from office.”

But nearly one-in-four, 24 percent, said there’s “almost nothing Trump could do that would cause me to support impeaching him and removing him from office.”

“Support for impeachment proceedings remains high among voters, but Democrats could face limited support from Republicans through the process,” said Tyler Sinclair, Morning Consult’s vice president. “A majority of voters support Congress’ current impeachment proceedings, but nearly a quarter say there is nothing President Trump could do that would cause them to support impeaching him and removing him from office, including 49 percent of Republicans.”

Since Democratic leaders endorsed the impeachment inquiry last week, the party has mounted a full-court press to assert that its new position would not put its House majority in peril. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee late last week presented polling data to its members, conducted by two Democratic polling firms, that showed a majority of likely voters backed the party’s latest move.

In the POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, voters are split over the impact of an impeachment vote by their member of Congress. Just under four-in-10 voters, 38 percent, say they would be more likely to vote for their representative if he or she voted to impeach Trump, while 34 percent say they would be less likely to vote for someone who supported Trump’s impeachment. Eighteen percent say it would not affect their vote.

The POLITICO/Morning Consult poll was conducted September 27-30, surveying 2,488 registered voters. The margin of error is plus or minus 2 percentage points.

In addition to the POLITICO/Morning Consult and Monmouth University polls, surveys conducted over the past week by Reuters/Ipsos, Quinnipiac University, CNN/SSRS, CBS News/YouGov, HuffPost/YouGov and NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist College all show, at worst, respondents are split on starting an impeachment inquiry. And among those polls for which trend lines were available, all showed an increase in the percentage of those supporting moving forward on impeachment.

Morning Consult is a nonpartisan media and technology company that provides data-driven research and insights on politics, policy and business strategy.

More details on the poll and its methodology can be found in these two documents: Toplines: https://politi.co/2p0kNtp | Crosstabs: https://politi.co/2p8t9iR

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