Impeachment doesn’t just poll poorly; it polls poorly even though most Americans already believe Trump has committed crimes. In this month’s Quinnipiac poll, 57% say Trump committed crimes before he became president, and 46% say he has committed crimes while he was president. Yet a paltry 29% support the mere “begin[ning of] the process to impeach President Donald Trump.”
Clearly, there is a bloc of voters who believe Trump committed crimes yet blanch at impeachment-and-conviction. It’s an assumption without evidence that an impeachment inquiry will produce evidence of crimes not yet already presumed by most voters, and yet another assumption that any such evidence would move the public opinion needle. With the House Democrats’ caucus spanning a wide political spectrum, including democratic socialists from deep-blue districts and moderates from Trump-won districts, impeachment risks dividing Democrats while uniting Republicans.
Remember, if your end goal isn’t removing Trump by Senate conviction, but by the ballot on November 3, 2020, then you want to pursue political strategies that unify the anti-Trump majority. Trump only got into the Oval Office in the first place because the 54% of the voting public who opposed Trump (not to mention Trump critics who didn’t bother to vote) didn’t fully consolidate behind the Democratic alternative. Trump has yet to achieve majority support for his job performance in the RealClearPolitics poll average throughout the duration of his presidency, but what splintered before could splinter again. It’s true that we can’t know for sure how impeachment would alter public opinion, but since there is no current evidence that impeachment proceedings would help unify Trump opponents, why make a blind bet?