We've written about impeachment polling for quite some time, noting that public support for that process was deep underwater following the release of the Mueller report, then tracking voter sentiment evolving from unchanged to generally supportive of at least an impeachment inquiry, as related to the Ukraine/quid pro quo matter. As things currently stand, national surveys show a clear majority in favor of the inquiry, with opinions split on the question of conviction and removal. There is no disputing that the president's standing on this question has eroded in recent weeks, and that empowered Democrats are feeling bolder. That being said, while pro-impeachment fervor appears to be running high in the heavily-populated anti-Trump precincts of coastal blue states, this observation should give the president's electoral college-minded opponents some pause:
Given how much press the pro impeachment polls got, I'm a little surprised at lack of attention I've seen to NYT's swing state poll and Marquette WI poll suggesting impeach/remove is not that popular in key battlegrounds. https://t.co/JgxIGshZbE— (((Harry Enten))) (@ForecasterEnten) October 26, 2019
I'm not surprised by this in the least, given the media's obvious rooting interest on all things Trump, but I'd be surprised if Nancy Pelosi -- who was always skittish about the I-word, and who still hasn't called a vote to formally launch the inquiry -- weren't keeping an eye on this data out of two highly contested 2020 battlegrounds:
A new Marquette University poll from the state of Wisconsin finds that 44% of voters want President Donald Trump impeached and removed from office, while 51% do not want him impeached and removed from office...A look at the national polls indicate that impeaching and removing Trump from office is at, a minimum, a plurality position...Florida is one of the most important swing states in the nation. Trump won there by only a point in 2016. With 29 electoral votes, Democrats would likely take back the presidency with a win there in 2020. A poll of Florida voters conducted by the University of North Florida out this week shows the divide at 46% in support of impeaching and removing Trump and 48% opposed to it.
From a political perspective, states like Florida and Wisconsin are decent stand-ins for the electorate's views in the sorts of closely-divided House districts that helped Democrats gain their lower chamber majority in 2018. But as Enten points out in his piece, this phenomenon isn't relegated to this pair of swing states:
Take an examination of the battleground states that Democrats almost certainly need to make inroads into in 2020. The New York Times and Siena College, 2018's most accurate pollster, took a poll of voters in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Arizona. These were closest states in the country that cast their electoral votes for Trump in 2016...Just 43% of voters in these six states want to impeach and remove from office at this point. The majority, 53%, do not. This means that the margin for not impeaching and removing Trump in these states (+10 points) is running well ahead of Trump's margin in these states of about 1.5 points. Put another way, impeaching and removing Trump from office in these states is not a popular position.
Polling does not and should not affect the substance of presidential misconduct or potentially impeachable offenses (here's the latest on the quid pro quo question), but because the whole process is inherently and explicitly political, public opinion considerations matter a great deal. I reject the notion that opinions are already set in stone, no matter what evidence emerges. As we documented above, voters shifted from solidly anti-impeachment, based on one set of information, to slightly pro-impeachment, based on another. Facts on the ground matter. And on the Ukraine scandal, I suspect that there are still quite a few facts yet to emerge -- especially if this man, who cannot be mistaken for a deep state agent, delivers testimony devastating to the president. We're following it all, with an eye toward accuracy and fairness; we'll see where developments may lead.
It must also be said that if or when evidence emerges that President Trump's opponents are revealed to have abused their power in pursuit of various machinations, the waters on impeachment could get awfully muddy. We've been keeping tabs on the Horowitz and Durham probes, having highlighted that the latter has morphed into a criminal investigation, reportedly (at least partially) due to findings in the former. This developing sequence is no accident, says a Republican member of the House Intelligence Committee:
John Ratcliffe: Change In Status Of Durham Investigation Is ‘Not A Coincidence’ https://t.co/rPiuWjjUUR— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) October 27, 2019
Shoes will be dropping on both sides of the investigation wars, quite possibly very soon.