Trump: The fact that only 25% want me impeached is pretty good given the scope of this witch hunt; Update: 51% want removal, says ... Fox News

Trump: The fact that only 25% want me impeached is pretty good given the scope of this witch hunt; Update: 51% want removal, says ... Fox News

Which poll is he talking about here? It’s not one of those Breitbart online polls, is it?

Did he poll … his own staff?

Because a mere 25 percent in favor of impeachment among that group would be pretty good for him at this point.

Impeachment polling is tricky because three distinct questions tend to get conflated with each other. One: Should Democrats begin an impeachment inquiry? Two: Should they actually impeach Trump? Three: Should he be removed from office? Further complicating matters is the fact that the average American may not understand those distinctions and think that “impeachment” means, quite simply, ending Trump’s presidency immediately. And on top of all that, the phrasing of the question by the pollster may dramatically affect the result. For instance, ask someone if Trump should be impeached — period, without elaborating — and you may be more likely to get a “yes” in reply since that person can cite any ol’ grievance he has with Trump to justify it. Ask the same person if Trump should be impeached over the Ukraine matter and, well, who knows? You might hear, “What Ukraine matter?”

Here’s what Quinnipiac got when it tackled this subject this week. They asked the most draconian form of the question — not an impeachment inquiry, not mere impeachment, but impeachment and removal. The number was higher than 25 percent. By a lot.

Quinnipiac also asked about an impeachment inquiry and found 53/43 in favor or that, in keeping with various other polls showing at least plurality support for House Democrats to pursue this. On the more basic question of whether Trump “abuses the power of his office” or not, the split went 55/41. Among independents it was 59/35.

Is Quinnipiac an outlier, maybe? No, says FiveThirtyEight, which is tracking the polling. It’s way early in the process but so far impeachment is becoming more popular:

According to our average, 48.8 percent of people support impeachment, while only 43.6 percent don’t support it.1 That’s an increase even from last week, when the share of people who supported and opposed impeachment were roughly the same. What’s changed? Early this week, we got a couple new, high-quality polls that showed a majority of Americans in favor of an impeachment inquiry. Most notably, a Washington Post-Schar School poll found that 58 percent of Americans agreed with the House’s decision to start an impeachment inquiry, and only 38 percent disagreed with it. And an Investor’s Business Daily/TIPP poll found that 55 percent approved of the House’s decision and 44 percent disapproved…

From Sept. 19 to Oct. 9, backing for impeachment among Democrats has increased by 11.2 points (from 71.6 percent support to 82.8 percent support). But backing has also increased among independents by 9.6 points (from 33.9 percent to 43.5 percent). Even some Republicans have had a change of heart: Their support for impeachment has increased by 4.1 points, from 9.7 percent to 13.8 percent.

You don’t need to pore through a bunch of statistics to understand why Trump’s claim of 25 percent in favor of impeachment is preposterous. Democrats despise him and their leaders in Congress are all-in on impeaching him over Ukraine; the party is destined to be nearly unanimously in favor of the move. That being so, since Democrats comprise half the voting public, we’re destined to see support for impeachment no lower than the mid-40s and potentially higher if independents turn on Trump.

And maybe they will. A new poll today from Morning Consult finds 50 percent of the electorate now in favor of impeachment and removal.

The poll, conducted Monday and Tuesday, shows that 50 percent of registered voters surveyed would support the Senate’s removing Trump from office, while 43 percent oppose the president’s removal. Seven percent of voters were undecided.

The 50 percent who support Trump’s removal is identical to the percentage who approve of the intensifying impeachment inquiry into the president, and who would support the House’s voting to impeach Trump. Similarly, 44 percent of voters oppose the inquiry, and 43 percent would oppose the House’s impeaching the president…

Democrats would support the Senate’s voting to remove Trump from office, 88 percent to 7 percent. Among Republicans, only 12 percent would support Trump’s removal, and 83 percent would oppose it. Roughly as many independents would support the Senate’s ousting Trump (44 percent) as would oppose it (43 percent).

So Morning Consult has Americans slightly in favor of removal and Quinnipiac has them slightly opposed to it. “Evenly divided” is a good approximation of where we’re at. The good news for Trump is that that’s nowhere near enough to spook Senate Republicans into removing him. In fact, at 43.6 percent, his average job approval today is a shade higher than it was two months ago before the Ukraine fiasco began. My suspicion that the entire impeachment brouhaha will have relatively little effect on people’s views of him is bearing out so far.

But let’s say I’m wrong. Would Democrats still be willing to impeach Trump if they had reason to believe it would hurt them at the polls next fall? Reuters asked that question in a new poll of its own. Result:

The poll, conducted on Monday and Tuesday, found that 55% of Democrats said that their party leaders should press ahead with impeachment even “if it means a lengthy and expensive process that could weaken their chances of winning the presidency in 2020.”

And even a higher number – 66% of Democrats – agreed that Congress should pursue impeachment, “even if that means they will need to postpone efforts to pass laws that could benefit me.”

The same poll found 59 percent in favor of Democrats investigating the Ukraine matter and plurality support for impeachment, 45/39. Maybe the next round of surveys will be better, though: Now that the White House is going all out to argue that the impeachment inquiry is unfair, replete with a conservative-media-friendly ranty letter from the White House counsel about its procedural defects, some of the Republicans in these polls who have supported the inquiry thus far might find themselves drifting back into Trump’s corner. It wouldn’t surprise me to see his numbers on impeachment better next week. Although nowhere near as little as 25 percent in favor.

Update: Well then.

You-know-who’s going to have a conniption when he sees that his favorite network dropped a number like that on him.

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