Schiffiasco: Opposition rises to impeachment inquiry in Politico-Morning Consult poll

House Democrats needed a big showing from their public impeachment hearings to rally public opinion and build a consensus for Donald Trump’s removal. After the first few days of testimony under Adam Schiff’s direction, they find themselves losing ground instead. In the latest Politico-Morning Consult poll, opposition to impeachment and removal has hit a recent high, and independents are bailing out on the project:

The survey, which has tracked support and opposition for the inquiry each week, support for the investigation inched down 2 points — to 48 percent from 50 percent — while opposition to the inquiry ticked up 3 points — to 45 percent from 42 percent.

POLITICO and Morning Consult surveyed registered voters beginning after the second public hearing of the impeachment inquiry, and the poll results may indicate that support for the inquiry has reached its peak after steadily building over the past several months. The results were largely driven by independent voters, among whom support dropped by 7 points over the past week.

“Voter opposition to the impeachment inquiry is at its highest point since Morning Consult and POLITICO began tracking the issue,” said Tyler Sinclair, Morning Consult’s vice president. “A key driver for this shift appears to be independents. Today, 47 percent of independents oppose the impeachment inquiry, compared to 37 percent who said the same one week ago.”

This matches up with the latest iteration of FiveThirtyEight’s aggregate tracking on impeachment polls as well. After a peak on October 14th of 50.3/43.8 in favor of impeachment, it has now declined to 47.9/45.4 — tracking ever closer to a flat-out tie. The trend is going in the wrong direction at the very time that Schiff is finally laying out his public case for impeachment, which speaks volumes about the impact of his hearsay witnesses and lack of direct evidence for hysterical charges of “bribery” and extortion.

It’s not the only metric showing a stall in Democrats’ momentum or worse. When asked about prioritization, the split for making impeachment “a top priority” is 46/45, not exactly a consensus pick. In comparison, voters are much more concerned about …

  • Reducing the federal budget deficit: 80/10
  • Healthcare reform bill: 79/12
  • Infrastructure stimulus: 73/13
  • Immigration reform: 72/17
  • Climate change: 62/29
  • DACA statute: 60/30
  • Legislation addressing economic inequality: 56/31

Only the border wall scores lower than impeachment in this poll, quite a feat for Adam Schiff this late in the game. Note too that almost all of those priorities are supposedly priorities for House Democrats as well. If they had spent 2019 working on the agenda that voters prioritize rather than on their three-year project to remove Donald Trump from office, they might not be worried about losing their majority — they could be planning for a new Senate majority.

The media doesn’t perform too well in this poll, either. By a 2:1 margin, Americans think that the impeachment inquiry is more important to the media than it is to them (60/30), and the same exact split applies to politicians (60/30). The condemnation of the media is rather partisan, with 78% of Republicans believing that it’s more important to the media than the voters, but 61% of independents agree — and so do 44% of Democrats. The same rough split as overall shows up in every age demo, every income demo, and even comes close in every ethnic demo, although it dips to the low 50s among Hispanics and African-Americans. It even gets a plurality among those who disapprove of Trump, 48/42.

About the only good news from the poll is that only a plurality disapprove of Democrats’ handling of impeachment:

While a plurality continues to support the inquiry overall, they also remain stable in their opposition to Democrats’ handling of the inquiry, 46 percent to 42 percent.

Expect that to change as it becomes clear that Schiff doesn’t have a case, and as bored voters tune out. And when that changes, Nancy Pelosi will regret not having worked on the real priorities of voters for the past year.