Democrats in the House of Representatives are headed into the Thanksgiving break on the verge of impeaching President Donald Trump, whether the American people like it or not. And recent trends suggest they don’t.
House Democrats have been conducting an impeachment inquiry into Trump’s July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for over a month now, and just concluded two weeks of public hearings. Was there a quid pro quo? Did Trump attempt to use critical aid to Ukraine to bribe the Ukrainians into investigating the Bidens? Is the president of the United States guilty of bribery?
It appears that Democrats have failed to move the needle of public opinion on any of these key questions, and recent polling demonstrates that support for impeachment is falling.
At the start of the inquiry, polls showed that at least plurality, sometimes a majority of voters supported impeaching the president. Now, polls are showing support for impeachment in the net negatives. A poll published by Marquette University Law School showed support for impeachment in the critical swing state having plummeted to 40%, with 53% of voters in the state opposed to impeachment. The poll also showed Trump leading all major Democratic presidential contenders in the state, including former Vice President Joe Biden, Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg. (RELATED: Have Democrats Poisoned The Well On Impeachment?)
“The polling is showing what we have known,” Trump 2020 deputy communications director Erin Perrine told the Daily Caller. “A politically-motivated impeachment against a duly elected president is not going to be popular.”
“This narrative out there that all these swing-state voters are split on impeachment is not true,” National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) communications director Chris Pack told the Daily Caller.
Another poll published last week by Emerson showed the President’s approval rating at a net positive, with 48% of Americans approving of Trump, and 47% disapproving. Most polls prior to public impeachment hearings showed the president’s approval ratings in the low 40s, or even the high 30s. The Emerson poll also showed support for impeachment plummeting nationally to 43%, with 48% opposed. The reason for this sea change? Independents. (RELATED: Poll: Independents Flip On Impeachment, Now Vastly Opposed After First Two Weeks Of Public Hearings)
The Emerson poll found that just 34% of Independent voters support impeachment, a 15% drop from last month. Other polls and analysis have found that voters are starting to tune out impeachment all together. According to to data collected by Politico and analyzed by Vanity Fair, over 60% of Americans believe the impeachment proceedings are more important to the political and media elite than they are to them.
This is exactly what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi feared when she held off on an impeachment inquiry in the aftermath of the Russia probe and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report. Even as the majority of her caucus pushed her to impeach the president, Pelosi held off and for good reason. (RELATED: Will Nancy Pelosi Budge On Impeachment?)
“She could only try to hold her caucus back for so long before the real leaders of the party, AOC and the Squad, forced her hand,” Perrine said.
House Democrats’ secret campaign political action committee (PAC) House Majority Forward recently conducted research that found “ambivalence” about impeachment among suburban voters, and said that there was “apparently more support for dropping it than pursuing it,” with voters becoming concerned that Democrats’ sole focus has become impeaching the president.
“This just shows you how much their majority is at risk next November,” Pack told. “They’re so caught up in their D.C. bubble, so caught up with their hatred of President Trump.”
There are currently 31 House Democrats who hold seats in districts that Trump won in 2016, and they are about to feel the heat from outside groups and their own constituents. Democratic Michigan Rep. Elissa Slotkin was chastised by constituents in her red-leaning district at a town hall last month after she announced support for an impeachment inquiry, with one women accusing Slotkin of having “joined the coup against our president.”
Democrats in red district are likely to face a lot more heat as they head home for the holidays, and Republicans are salivating over the political opportunities handed to them over impeachment.
“Democrats let their emotions get the best of them and got way ahead of their skis and it’s going to cost them the majority next year,” Pack said. “We will win back the majority next fall.”
Many Democrats elected in the 2018 midterm promised to work in bipartisan fashion to pass legislation, but Congress has become a legislative graveyard as Washington D.C. has been captivated by impeachment. (RELATED: Impeachment Proceedings Usually Move Swiftly, But Democrats Are Playing It Slowly)
“Nothing has gotten done since they took over the chamber,” Pack said. “They’re just too obsessed with impeachment.”
Still, Democrats have maintained that the president committed wrongdoing during his Summer phone call with Zelensky, and seemed determined to bring him to heel. Schiff said Sunday that he didn’t think public support for impeachment “is really the question we should be asking,” and that Trump “will commit even more egregious acts in the months ahead” if Democrats don’t follow through on impeachment.
Trump and his allies have long maintained that impeachment is motivated by lingering bitterness over the results of the 2016 presidential election, when Trump stunned Hillary Clinton to pull off one of the biggest upsets in the history of American politics. (RELATED: All The Times The Media Said Trump’s Presidency Was Toast)
“No matter what, Democrats have always tried to delegitimize the results of the 2016 elections,” Perrine said.
With Congress heading to recess for Thanksgiving and no more witnesses scheduled, the impeachment inquiry seems to have stagnated. Democrats nevertheless seem very likely to move forward on impeachment and have the numbers to do so, even if the American people have seen enough.
However, recent polling suggests that Democrats should move forward at their own peril, and that impeaching the president could ultimately have the effect of getting him re-elected.