House Democrats turn the corner this week from second-hand hearsay testimony to academic debate in their drive toward impeachment. The question is whether American voters have joined the caravan, and a new Washington Post poll analysis provides the answer: nope. The needle hasn’t budged since the beginning of the hearings, although the Post is careful to call this “stable” rather than the more appropriate “stagnant”:
Impeaching Trump was clearly unpopular this summer, standing at 39 percent supporting and 48 opposing in a Washington Post average of nationally representative polls from June through late September. But later in September — after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced the impeachment inquiry following a CIA whistleblower complaint about Trump’s request to the Ukrainian president to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son — support jumped to an even split at 46 percent in support and opposition.
Since that initial jump, however, support for impeachment has been stable. The Post’s average of nationally representative polls conducted since the start of the House’s public hearings on Nov. 13 finds 47 percent of Americans support impeaching and removing Trump, while 43 percent are opposed. That level of support is little different from the 47 percent support in the two weeks before hearings began and 48 percent support earlier in October. …
Democrats and Republicans are mirror opposites on the issue, with an average of 86 percent of Democrats supporting impeachment, compared with 9 percent of Republicans. Democrats have grown more united in their support for impeachment since before the inquiry began, when polls showed roughly two-thirds supported impeachment. Among Republicans, an average of 87 percent are opposed, while 8 percent of Democrats say the same.
Aaaaand that’s one big problem for Democrats, but it’s not their only big problem. The point of public hearings was to move the public behind the effort, not to produce a “stable” outcome at the other end of them. Adam Schiff intended the hearings to convince the electorate that Congress had to take the extraordinary step of removing a president, producing a bipartisan consensus that would force the Senate to take this seriously. The only movement that Schiff produced was a slight deepening of the trench warfare that existed prior to the hearings, which is not exactly a surprise.