A new Fox News poll shows the public's views on impeachment largely unchanged, with a small majority of voters in favor of removing President Trump from office. Much of the rest of the national polling, however, has shown the portion of the public in favor of impeachment and conviction receding. The latest example of this phenomenon comes from USA Today and Suffolk's outfit, whose fresh numbers really demonstrate how soft the pro-impeachment stance is when people are offered a middle ground option.
As I've written previously, when the electorate is offered a choice beyond a polarized dichotomy, a significant portion of people select an option that represents their discomfort with both the president's conduct and the prospect of uprooting him from office. To the results:
In a USA TODAY/Suffolk Poll, Americans split on impeachment, but a narrow majority oppose conviction. But issue ranks low as a voting concern in 2020. https://t.co/xtJVwfIbln— USA TODAY Politics (@usatodayDC) December 15, 2019
In the wake of combative impeachment hearings, those surveyed oppose by 51%-45% a Senate vote to convict Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Though those results may be sobering – almost half of Americans support removing the president from office – they are a bit better for him than the survey's findings in October, when Americans split 47%-46%...In the survey, 41% say House members should vote to impeach Trump; 14% say they should investigate but not impeach him, and 42% say they should drop their inquiries into him and his administration...In the poll, sentiments divided along predictable partisan lines. Republicans by an overwhelming 89%-9% oppose a Senate vote that would remove Trump from office; Democrats by 81%-15% support it. Independents by 52%-41% oppose it.
By a six-point margin (45/51), Americans oppose impeachment and conviction. When the 'investigate but don't impeach' avenue is presented, the data shifts even more decisively against Democrats' current path. Just 41 percent of voters favor that course of action, with 56 percent wanting a different outcome, a 15-point anti-removal majority. Indeed, slightly more respondents would prefer to see Congress drop their investigations into Trump altogether than to eject him from the White House. Independents are against removal by 11 points. I'd be curious to see how censure might poll, both as a straight-up yes/no proposition, and as an alternative. Another key finding from the survey:
Though the impeachment debate has transfixed Washington and inflamed American politics, voters say it won't have much of an impact on their decision of which candidate to back in the 2020 presidential election. Impeachment ranks 11th on a list of 12 issues; only transportation scores lower. Republicans put impeachment dead last. Even among Democrats, impeachment is a less important concern than health care, gun control, education, the economy, immigration and Social Security.
In addition to putting this whole process in the rearview mirror before the 2020 election cycle kicks into high gear, this is a top reason why House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is racing to get impeachment done by the meaningless, artificial deadline of Christmas (a final House vote is expected this week). The sooner this is all over, the better, she's decided. She has no choice but to check the box, but wants to pivot away as soon as possible. Impeachment has become a stalemate, featuring a conflicted populace and potential political risks to both parties. She's ripping off the BandAid literally as quickly as she can:
Uncomfortable reality for Dems:— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) December 16, 2019
1. Impeachment hurting Pelosi's most vulnerable members
2. Doesn't rank as a top voting issue
3. Even the 7 national security Dems who rallied for hearings are a lot more circumspect now
4. Van Drew switching partieshttps://t.co/BsL8lvvv58
“Impeachment has become a no-win proposition for both parties, the equivalent of a battle in the trenches where no side holds a clear advantage,” writes National Journal's Josh Kraushaar, neatly encapsulating why Pelosi is moving at warp speed, and why her GOP counterpart in the Senate is pushing for a rapid and non-elaborate trial. Both leaders have members who want this issue off the front pages, and no longer trending, as soon as possible. I'll leave you with this, which could be interesting:
This would substantially change the tenor of the impeachment trial, I think. https://t.co/HkIb0Fxkbf— Matt Welch (@MattWelch) December 15, 2019
And by the way, the polling findings rehearsed above were commissioned and reported by USA Today, a newspaper whose editorial board has come out in favor of impeachment. As was the case when they backed impeachment in 1998, their readers -- the American people -- evidently feel differently.