Alas, for the Democrats, the promising numbers of late October and early November rapidly dissipated, and polling numbers have reverted to a level more consistent with long-term opinions on President Trump. In the latest Politico/Morning Consult poll, released on November 19, Independents opposed impeachment and removal from office 46% to 39%, a number close to the rolling averages of the last few weeks. It is notable that the poll was fielded after the first public impeachment hearings. Even the compelling testimony of witnesses like Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, failed to move the needle on public opinion. That doesn’t mean further hearings won’t energize greater opposition to Trump, but it’s a little hard to imagine more effective testimony than that offered by Yovanovitch and some of her Foreign Service colleagues.

To understand the relative lack of enthusiasm among Independents for impeachment, I took a close look at data from the most recent Politico/Morning Consult tracking poll, a poll in which the Hive had the opportunity to propose questions focused on Independents and their views. The data, along with supplementary interviews, illustrates an electorate that believes the impeachment inquiry is connected to the priorities of politicians and the media—not of ordinary voters—and an electorate confused and dispirited by the nonstop parade of Washington scandals.