Congress

New polls show impeachment hearings having minimal impact on public sentiment

One survey finds more independents oppose impeachment after first week of hearings

From left, Reps. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., Tom Malinowski, D-N.J., Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, Mark Meadows, R-N.C., and Scott Perry, R-Pa., attend Tuesday’s House Intelligence Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Two polls released Tuesday show the House’s impeachment hearings are having minimal impact on public sentiment, with one conducted over the weekend revealing opposition to impeachment growing among independents.

A Politico/Morning Consult poll conducted Nov. 15 to 17 after the first week of public hearings found 47 percent of respondents support the House impeaching President Donald Trump, compared to 44 percent who oppose such action.

[Democrats hope impeachment support grows but proceeding regardless of public sentiment]

When asked about the Senate removing Trump, support increased slightly to 48 percent but that number was 2 percentage points lower than support expressed for removal in a Politico/Morning Consult poll conducted a week earlier. In that week, opposition among independents grew by 10 percentage points.

“Voter opposition to the impeachment inquiry is at its highest point since Morning Consult and POLITICO began tracking the issue,” Tyler Sinclair, Morning Consult’s vice president, said. “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.”

The poll, which has a margin of error of 2 percentage points, found 42 percent of respondents approve of the way Democrats are conducting the impeachment inquiry, while 46 percent disapprove.

A majority — 58 percent — said they are closely or somewhat following media coverage of the impeachment inquiry, but 55 percent also said they find it difficult to tell all the investigations in Washington apart. 

Exactly one third of respondents, 33 percent, said they have not watched the public hearings at all, while 31 percent said they watched the proceedings live and 36 percent said they watched clips.

An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll conducted Nov. 11 to 15 — the latter half of which is when the first two public impeachment hearings were held — found similar and hardened views about impeachment. 

The poll, which has a margin of error of 3.8 percentage points, showed 45 percent of respondents saying Trump should be impeached and removed from office and 44 opposed or unsure. When considering just impeachment without removal, the ratio support increased to 47 percent and opposition increased to 46 percent.

Those numbers appear unlikely to change significantly as the hearings continue, with 65 percent of respondents saying do not see any developments in the inquiry swaying their position. Only 30 percent said new information could change their mind.

As to whether the evidence to date has made them more likely to support impeachment, 47 percent of respondents said yes versus 41 percent who said no. Among independents only, the responses to that question were split at 45 percent.

While the polls may disappoint Democrats trying to convince the public that Trump abused his power as president, they have said public sentiment won’t influence their inquiry. Rather, Democrats say they’re being driven by their duty to protect the Constitution.