New Polls Show Impeachment Hearings Having Minimal Impact on Public Sentiment

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and ranking member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., right, during hearings at House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019. (Shawn Thew/Pool Photo via AP)

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% of respondents support the House impeaching President Donald Trump, compared to 44% who oppose such action.

When asked about the Senate removing Trump, support increased slightly to 48%, 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% of independents oppose the impeachment inquiry, compared to 37% who said the same one week ago.”

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

A majority — 58% — said they are closely or somewhat following media coverage of the impeachment inquiry, but 55% 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% said they watched the proceedings live and 36% 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% of respondents saying Trump should be impeached and removed from office and 44 opposed or unsure. When considering just impeachment without removal, the ratio of support increased to 47% and opposition increased to 46 percent.

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

As to whether the evidence to date has made them more likely to support impeachment, 47% of respondents said yes versus 41% 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.

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