Poll: House Democrats may be getting excited for impeachment -- but the public isn't

Poll: House Democrats may be getting excited for impeachment -- but the public isn't

A brutal poll through and through for impeachment fanatics, and therefore a good one for Pelosi. There are now 130 House Democrats in favor of impeaching Trump, the most notable of which is Ben Ray Lujan, the fourth-ranking Democrat. Every time someone in the caucus speaks up to declare his or her support, a new frisson of suspense shoots through the media: Might there be a dam break?

Is Pelosi losing control of the Democrats?

If she was, she won’t be anymore when the fencesitters see this Monmouth data.

Two months of watching various House Democrats come out in favor of impeachment hasn’t moved the needle an inch for the public. Americans are now less likely to support impeachment than they were at any point prior to June of this year even though House Dems have never been more likely to support it. Something to bear in mind the next time they accuse the GOP of being “out of touch.”

One might counter that whether the public supports impeachment is a separate question from whether it’s a good idea to conduct formal impeachment proceedings. For instance, an extended impeachment inquiry might weaken Trump ahead of 2020, making it easier for Democrats to bump him off at the polls next November. But no, the public’s pretty clear that it’s not a good idea in the abstract either — particularly given the fact that there’s zero chance the Republican Senate would vote to remove him from office.

Fully 75 percent acknowledge that it’s “not at all unlikely” or “not too likely” that the Senate would oust Trump if House Dems did impeach him, and when you ask them squarely whether it’s a good or bad idea to impeach if it’s unlikely he’ll be convicted they again break 37/56. They even oppose Democrats on the lesser question of whether Jerry Nadler’s Judiciary Committee should open an impeachment inquiry on Trump, splitting 41/51 on that.

The coup de grace:

More people think this will backfire on Democrats by helping Trump next fall than think it’ll help them.

Most ominous for Pelosi, I think, are the numbers when people are asked how they’d feel if the representative from their district voted for or against impeachment: “Among Democrats, 43% say they would be more likely to back their incumbent House member in 2020 if she or he voted in favor of impeachment (8% would be less likely) and 44% would be less likely to back a representative who voted against impeachment (5% more likely).” That presents an agonizing choice for a purple-district Democrat. Is 43 percent or so of your own party enough to get you to vote yes on impeachment knowing that a majority of the country and, perhaps, your district opposes it? If not, are you willing to risk pissing off 43 percent of the voters you need for another term? You can see why Pelosi’s frantic to avoid a floor vote on this subject. It’s no-win for her most vulnerable members.

She’d prefer to wait and take heart from Trump’s dismal approval numbers that he’ll be beaten fair and square at the polls next year. Just 39 percent say that Trump should be reelected in this survey; a separate poll out today from the AP had his job approval at 36/62, landslide numbers if it were to hold next fall. She’ll take those odds rather than pulling the pin on a grenade like impeachment.

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