Deeper dive on Gallup: Opposition to impeachment near 2019 high

Maybe this is why Nancy Pelosi and other women in the House Democratic caucus decided to wear black. It’s an appropriate motif for a party busily digging their polling graves today, and the hits just keep on a-comin’ from Gallup. As Karen noted earlier today, Donald Trump’s approval rating has improved twelve points in the gap since the impeachment hearings began, but that’s not the worst of the results for House Democrats:

President Donald Trump’s job approval rating has inched up again and is now at 45%. The president’s ratings have increased six percentage points since the House of Representatives opened an impeachment inquiry against him in the fall. …

Approval of the president’s performance remains high among Republicans (89%) and low among Democrats (8%). Less than half of political independents approve, but the current 42% is up from 34% at the start of the impeachment hearings and matches their highest rating of Trump so far.

Trump’s latest job rating is on the high end of the relatively tight range of 35% to 46% approval he has received since taking office, and marks the fifth time he has reached 45% or higher during his presidency. His approval stretched to 46% only once, in May of this year, when a flurry of positive economic news coincided with the issuing of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report.

Even this might undersell the movement. In October, when Adam Schiff began the Ukraine-Gate hearings, Trump’s approval rating stood at 39/57, a -18 point gap. Democrats had Trump in the worst polling position Gallup had found since January, before the Mueller report release. Today’s 45/51 shows a dramatic change in two months, all while Democrats had the media’s complete attention.

That’s not the worst of it for Democrats, though. This is:

The trend lines mirror those in both the 538 and RCP aggregate trackers. The Gallup results haven’t fallen all the way back to the post-Mueller period, but it’s getting close. Statistically, 53/45 and 51/46 are nearly indistinguishable, but the trend line looks bad for House Democrats today. In the CNN poll, the movement was mainly among Democrats bailing out on impeachment (to Jeffrey Toobin’s dismay), but Gallup sees a retreat among independents:

The movement in the national figure mostly reflects a small shift among political independents, a slight majority of whom supported impeachment and removal in two October polls (55% and 53%), but whose support has fallen below the 50% mark in the two polls since (45% in November and 48% in the latest poll).

Those numbers are higher than found for independents in other polls, but it’s the trend line that should be worrying Democrats. The impeachment sale is increasingly only successful among anti-Trump partisans, in large part because House Democrats never put together a case that extends beyond the claim that the Democratic majority detests Trump’s comportment and doesn’t think he should be president. That is an election campaign argument, not a constitutional case for removal, which is why polls are sliding away from impeachment and toward Trump, the latter within the limits of his ceiling, naturally.

However, Pelosi might take some comfort in another Gallup finding. Congressional approval hit 27% in this survey, which sounds bad until one looks at the chart. The previous high for the last three years was 28%, and Gallup hasn’t registered a figure above 30% in more than ten years. Democrats are driving this bump, but independents have also given their highest rating in nine years … 29%. Whatever else they might think of impeachment, it’s not damaging their standing as a body. When it comes to individual members, however, it might be a very different story.