Over the past two days, the public’s support for the impeachment of President Donald Trump has plunged. All Democrats can do now is hope that voters don’t remove them from office for wasting everyone’s time.
The Real Clear Politics average shows that as of Thursday, the public was evenly split on whether Trump should be impeached and removed from office, with 46.5% both backing and opposing expulsion.
That’s a stunning drop in the span of two days, when 48.3% favored Trump’s removal. In late October, just under half of the public thought Trump should be kicked out. At the same time, Trump’s approval rating has crept up, going from 41.9% in late October to almost 44% now. In fact, Trump’s approval in the Gallup poll is identical to where President Barack Obama was at the same time his presidency.
In other words, the more the public has learned about the impeachment case, the less support it’s shown. Democrats have utterly failed to make their case to the public.
Also on Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the Democratic leadership won’t apply any pressure on the rank-and-file to vote for impeachment. “I have no message to them,” Pelosi said, referring to moderates who are reportedly planning to vote against the articles of impeachment. “They’ll make their own decisions. I don’t say anything to them.”
The polls are even worse for Democrats than they seem.
When Bill Clinton faced impeachment in 1998, support closely tracked his approval rating, which at the time was in the 60% range.
“At the end of the saga Mr. Clinton’s job approval was 65% vs. 33% disapproval; opposition to impeachment was also 65% while support was 33%,” the Wall Street Journal noted.
This isn’t the case with Trump.
The latest RCP average has Trump’s disapproval rating at 53.4%, yet only 46.5% say they back his removal. So there is a substantial number of people who don’t approve of Trump’s job performance, but still don’t want him removed.
That can be described only as a catastrophic failure for Democrats.
What’s more, throughout 1998 and into early 1999, when the Senate held its trial of Clinton, public support for his removal was edging up. In June 1998, only 19% said he should be removed from office. By the time the House held its impeachment vote in December, that number had risen to 33%, and it went up another three points in January.
So in Clinton’s case, the more the public knew about his lying under oath and obstruction of justice, the more people wanted him gone.
In contrast, support for Trump’s removal peaked On Oct. 21, before any of the public hearings took place. When those hearings started, almost 49% said they thought Trump should be removed from office. Support has never been that high since.
By giving in to their hatred of Trump and rushing to impeach him just months before a presidential election, and on the flimsiest of evidence, Democrats may find that voters decide to impeach and remove them from office.
— Written by Issues & Insights Editorial Board
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