At first blush, the new NBC/Survey Monkey poll on impeachment and removal if Donald Trump tells pretty much the same story as the others since the eruption of Ukraine-Gate. In this case, Americans split evenly on the question, 49/49, which is more or less in line with all of the others. Democrats overwhelmingly support impeachment 89/10, while Republicans oppose it 9/90, and independents split slightly in favor 53/44. Ho hum.
However, thanks to the large sample size of this two-week survey (over 18,000 registered voters), NBC can drill down into some interesting demos on all of these questions. “It’s worth exploring the 10 percent of Democrats who think Trump should not be impeached,” NBC comments, “and 9 percent of Republicans who think he should be.”
So who are the Republicans who want Trump impeached? Primarily the Never Trumpers, which isn’t exactly a surprise. The ethnicity and age demos skew significantly away from the GOP norm as well:
Of Republicans who say Trump should be impeached, 88 percent disapprove of his job performance. Half of the impeachment-supporting GOP group identifies as moderate with 42 percent saying they voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and 27 percent said they did not vote in the last presidential election at all.
The racial composition of GOPers in favor of impeachment is very different from that of those against it. Among Republicans who think he should be impeached, 50 percent are white. Among Republicans who don’t think he should be impeached, 82 percent are white. …
Republicans who think Trump should be impeached also tend to be younger. Sixty five percent are under 45 years old, indicating that young GOP voters may be against their party on impeachment.
That could be a longer-term issue for Republicans, although it’s just as easy to say that it’s a longer-term issue for both parties. It suggests that impeachment is being taken more as a norm than an extraordinary measure, which might be an echo of the ill-fated attempt to remove Bill Clinton in 1998. There was an established crime in that case, although it involved Clinton’s private life rather than his official duties as president. In this case, no one has even formulated a crime but rather alleged unseemly conduct in pursuit of personal political objectives. If both of those get legitimized as the basis for “high crimes and misdemeanors,” we’re going to have a lot of these impeachment proceedings in the future.
What about Democrats who oppose impeachment and removal? This picture gets more complicated, as it also skews younger than the party norm. These Resistance-resisters are also somewhat more ethnically diverse than one would assume, and unsurprisingly tend to approve more of Trump’s performance than their fellow Democrats:
About 6 in 10 Democrats who don’t think Trump should be impeached still disapprove of the job he’s doing as president. Still, 4 in 10 of those Democrats approve of the job he’s doing, compared to only 2 percent approval among Democrats who think he should be impeached. …
Again, in this group, a majority are white (56 percent) but 21 percent are Hispanic and 17 percent are black.
Forty-three percent of Democrats who don’t think Trump should be impeached are under 45 years.
NBC doesn’t mention the geographic distribution of these Democrats, but it might be more important than their ethnic or age demos. If these come mainly in suburban areas, it might turn into a real headache next year for Democrats. It would have a subtle impact on their ability to win the presidential election, but such a development would have a major impact on their ability to hold the House majority. Can we assume that the 51% who either didn’t vote in 2016 or voted for Trump came primarily from the suburbs? Probably not, although that seems a little more likely than the urban cores. Perhaps NBC can follow up with more data on regional distribution.
Overall, though, this poll is telling us the same story as every other survey this month. The FiveThirtyEight impeachment poll tracker shows a very narrow band of variability, especially when narrowed to those polls that frame the question as “impeachment and removal.” As of Wednesday’s calculations, the aggregate split was 48.1/43.7 in favor, very far from a broad consensus among Americans over this extraordinary demand to undo a valid national election. Until Democrats uncover an actual crime and do so with a credible process rather than leaks from star-chamber processes, that’s not likely to change.