Would Democrats really face a backlash if they impeached Trump?

Some rank-and-file congressional Democrats favor starting impeachment proceedings against President Trump. Even Democrats who don’t favor impeachment, such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have suggested that Trump’s behavior could be impeachment-worthy, pointing to his administration’s refusal to comply with Congress’s requests for documents and testimony from key officials and the Mueller report’s references to potential obstruction of justice by the president. But Pelosi has downplayed the possibility of pursuing impeachment, hinting that such a move would hurt Democrats electorally.

Put simply, the impeachment of Bill Clinton hangs over everything — Republicans impeached Clinton in 1998, and voters rallied to his defense. Pelosi and other senior Democrats probably fear a similar backlash.

But are they right to?

In the short term, yes. Polls show that impeachment proceedings, at least at their start, would probably be opposed by a plurality of the public. The long term is more complicated, however.