Has anyone noticed that Democrats have become a lot quieter on the subject of impeachment lately? Robert Mueller will testify before the House Judiciary Committee in ten days, but the fevered demands for Donald Trump’s removal have receded. One key result from the latest Washington Post/ABC poll shows why:
37% support for Congress initiating impeachment proceedings against Pres. Trump in new @ABC News/WaPo poll, unchanged since April, while opposition to this step has grown by 13 points to 59%. https://t.co/wzDsLdnyu1 pic.twitter.com/hLPY7zf5Qz
— ABC News (@ABC) July 7, 2019
Personally, moreover, a broad 65% say that since taking office Trump “has acted in a way that’s unpresidential,” not far from the 70% who said so in mid-2017 and early 2018 alike. Just 28% in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, say his behavior is “fitting and proper” for a president.
That said, support for Congress initiating impeachment proceedings against Trump remains unchanged since April at 37%, while opposition to this step has grown by 13 points since August to 59%, a new high. Sixty-one percent of Democrats favor impeachment action, but just 37% of independents – and 7% of Republicans – agree.
It almost goes without saying, as Jazz also noted in his look at Trump’s approval rating in the same poll yesterday, that the WaPo/ABC poll is not the friendliest series for Trump. The WaPo/ABC poll has shown majorities opposed to impeachment in past iterations, but this level of opposition is now roughly equivalent to that seen in other series, too. The most recent Quinnipiac poll had opposition at 61%, for instance, with all demographics except Democrats staunchly opposed to it. This WaPo/ABC poll also has the highest level of “strongly” opposed in its series, 46%, up from 33% last August.
Most of this shift took place before the release of the Mueller report. By January, strong opposition to impeachment had already hit 42% in this series, and overall support for impeachment had dropped to 40%. Democrats insisted that the popular fatigue with impeachment was a result of William Barr’s summary of the report, but it’s been over two months since the release of the full report and those numbers keep getting worse for Democrats looking to impeach Trump. Voters either read the report for themselves and found no reason to impeach, or they’re looking at the upcoming election and are wondering why it’s necessary — or both.
And that doesn’t bode well for Democrats looking for a rocket-fuel boost for impeachment in the Mueller hearing. Mueller himself has made it pretty clear that he’s not going to dish out anything more than what he included in the report, which has some Democrats suggesting that they might just have him read it aloud — as if a droning Mueller would make the report any more appealing to those who haven’t bothered to read it themselves for free already. Mueller’s appearance will give Republicans on the panel plenty of opportunities to probe the special counsel about the investigation, including the suspicious circumstances surrounding the Steele dossier, the FISA warrant, and the political bias arguably introduced into the investigation by Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.
Democrats might want to cut their losses and cancel Mueller’s appearance. This isn’t getting any better for them, and it could get a great deal worse.