Tuesday, November 26, 2019
Vanity Fair: As details of Trump's Ukrainian phone call spilled out, and as House Democrats revved the impeachment engine, early polls evidenced strong support for removing Donald Trump from office. Though much of that support came from Democrats, critically, it also came from Independents: A late October Gallup poll put Independents in favor of removing Trump from office at 53% to 44%, and a Morning Consult poll in early November revealed an even greater gap, 49% to 34%, in favor of removal.
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. This is nothing but bad news for the Democrats heading into 2020.
Three important factors are driving the views of Independents.
The first is that, in their view, impeachment distracts from issues they care about. Among the 11 issues that Politico and Morning Consult tested, impeachment ranked last, well below the deficit at 74%, health care at 72%, and infrastructure at 70%. Even Trump's absurd border wall scored as a higher priority for Independents.
The second factor is the view among Independents that impeachment reflects the agenda of the political establishment and the media. Regardless of what they think about Trump's behavior, Independents see impeachment as a continuation of the partisan bickering and media excess that began even before his inauguration.
Third, as other reporting has suggested, Independents suffer from scandal fatigue and overall confusion. They agreed with the statement "[It is] difficult to tell all the investigations in Washington apart" by a roughly two-to-one margin. (Even Democrats concur by a substantial, if somewhat smaller, margin).
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