There was a moment — just a moment — last week when people staring at polling on the House impeachment inquiry and prospective impeachment of Donald Trump saw a sudden lurch downward in support that probably terrified the more fretful Democrats:
That was true: per the database of impeachment polling at FiveThirtyEight, the Politico/Morning Consult survey taken November 8–10 showed independent voters supporting Trump’s impeachment by a 49/34 margin. The November 15–17 poll showed indies opposing impeachment by a 40/45 margin. Nobody knew if it was just noise, or a negative reaction to the impeachment hearings, but the idea that support for impeachment was cratering was reinforced by a Marquette Law School survey of Wisconsin, the state so many think will determine the 2020 presidential election:
In the new poll, 40 percent of registered voters think that Trump should be impeached and removed from office, while 53 percent do not think so and 6 percent say that they do not know.
In October, before public hearings began, 44 percent favored impeachment and removal from office, while 51 percent were opposed, and 4 percent said they didn’t know.
We still don’t know what was going on last week, but this week’s national polls show a rebound of support for impeachment, or perhaps indicate it never really flagged despite a couple of outliers suggesting it had. Politico/Morning Consult now has indies favoring impeachment again by a 48/38 margin, as of November 22–24. FiveThirtyEight’s overall averages (with polls adjusted for partisan leans and weighted for accuracy) show 43.7 percent of self-identified independents favoring impeachment, down from a high of 47.5 percent on October 23, but up from 41 percent late last week. There’s really no clear evidence swing voters are getting tired of impeachment at this point, or are angry at Democrats for pursuing it. Self-identified Democrats and Republicans, needless to say, remain totally polarized on the subject. In the latest Politico/Morning Consult survey Democrats favor impeachment by a 84/10 margin while Republicans oppose it by an 82/13 margin.
The bigger picture is that support for or opposition to impeachment pretty closely tracks Trump’s job approval ratings, which have been famously stable since the end of the 2018–19 government shutdown, and have oscillated within a narrow band from the very beginning of his presidency. According to FiveThirtyEight’s averages, voters overall favor impeachment by a 48.6/44.1 margin. The same source using the same adjustment and weighting methods shows Trump’s job approval ratio at 41.8/53.7. Similarly, RealClearPolitics (which just calculates and average raw polling data) has support for impeachment at 48.8/45.2, and Trump’s job approval ratio at 43.7/52.9. A very high percentage of Americans who don’t like the president’s performance in office would like to see him given a one-way ticket to Palookaville right away. And the percentage feeling that way, a solid plurality in most polls, isn’t declining after all.