We’ll be hearing this a lot from Schiff and Schumer over the next two weeks so it’s worth noting up front that it’s not true. “Most” Americans don’t think the Senate trial is a sham.
And we already have multiple polls already to prove it.
It may be true by the end of the trial. That’s the result Democrats are aiming for by complaining loudly about fairness at every turn. But it’s not true at the start. Schiff, today:
“Let me be very blunt. Right now a great many, perhaps even most, Americans do not believe there will be a fair trial. They don’t believe that the Senate will be impartial. They believe that the result is pre-cooked, the president will be acquitted. Not because he is innocent, he is not, but because the senators will vote by party and he has the votes. The votes to prevent the evidence from coming out, the votes to make sure the public never sees it. The American people want a fair trial. They want to believe their system of government is still capable of rising to the occasion. They want to believe that we can rise above party and do what’s best for the country, but a great many Americans don’t believe that will happen. Let’s prove them wrong.”
Is that so? New from Monmouth:
Note the number among independents. Even Democrats are more enthused about the trial than you might expect. CNN asked a similar question in its own poll this week, whether they thought Senate Republicans were likely to give Trump a fair trial, and got this result:
Americans are willing to give Republicans the benefit of the doubt on fairness going in, which is great news for GOP incumbents who are up for reelection next fall. But it also makes it that much harder for them to refuse to call witnesses, knowing that people’s perceptions of the trial’s fairness might shift if they do so. In CNN’s poll fully 69 percent of Americans said they wanted to hear from witnesses. Monmouth’s numbers today aren’t as gaudy but they’re still strong on whether new evidence, which of course would include witnesses, should be admitted:
Indies are in favor by a margin of nearly 20 points. And when you ask if Trump’s aides who are refusing to testify should be compelled to do so, asked but not compelled, or not asked, Americans split 51/29/16. A clear majority think Mulvaney, Bolton, et al. should be forced.
Right now you’re thinking, “Who the hell is Adam Schiff to complain about fairness after the process he conducted in the House?” Okay, but the polling is less kind to Republicans on that subject. When people were asked in CNN’s poll whether House Dems are demanding witnesses right now in order to ensure a fair trial in the Senate or to hurt Republicans in next year’s election, Dems got the benefit of the doubt at 50/39. Meanwhile, Monmouth asked straight up whether people thought the House impeachment process was fair or not. Result: Yes by a margin of 52/44, with independents at 51/46.
It may be that the impeachment process is sufficiently arcane that casual politics watchers are willing to cut either side a break in how they handle things. Bad news for Schiff and the Democrats going forward.
But there’s one more point in his favor. For the second day in a row we have a poll showing more Americans in favor of seeing Trump removed from office than opposed. That’s a reversal of the trend throughout November; in fact, until today Monmouth had never recorded plurality support for removal despite asking about it consistently in polling over the last two and a half years. The highest they’d seen until now was 45/50. Today it’s 49/48. CNN also found support for removal in its poll yesterday, at 49/47 among registered voters. Whether that’s because of the new info from Lev Parnas or because people are just a bit more open to removing the president as the Senate trial begins is an open question. Can’t wait to see what the numbers are like after the verdict, though.
Here’s Schiff today lecturing about fairness.
Adam Schiff: "I believe the most important decision in this case is the one you will make today. … Will the president and the American people get a fair trial?"pic.twitter.com/YmfH6ffW0F
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) January 21, 2020