Voter Support for Impeachment Grows Amid Ukraine Scandal
43% support beginning impeachment proceedings to remove Trump from office, up 7 points from a weekend survey, while opposition dropped 6 points, to 43%.
59% of voters who back impeachment said Trump committed an impeachable offense, a Morning Consult record high.
Voter support for impeachment matched its highest point of Donald Trump’s presidency as he faced a whistleblower allegation that he pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, with more impeachment supporters than ever before saying he committed an impeachable offense, according to Morning Consult/Politico polling.
The new Sept. 24-26 poll of 1,640 registered voters -- conducted as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) endorsed an impeachment inquiry and details emerged about the president’s pressure on Ukraine -- found the public divided at 43 percent on the question of whether Congress should begin proceedings to remove Trump from office, a net swing of 13 percentage points in favor of impeachment since a poll conducted over the weekend. The figure for support rose 7 points, while opposition dropped 6 points.
The latest numbers nearly match an August 2018 poll, conducted as Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, and Michael Cohen, his ex-personal lawyer, were both convicted of crimes stemming from former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. In that poll, 42 percent of voters supported impeachment and 42 percent opposed it. Each of the polls has a 2-point margin of error.
Among those voters who support impeachment now, 59 percent said Trump committed an impeachable offense, a record high since Morning Consult began asking about it in May 2017. The last high was 52 percent, in the August 2018 survey.
In the most recent survey, 37 percent of impeachment supporters said Trump should be removed from office because he has proven he is unfit to serve.
Two-thirds of voters in the poll, which began gathering responses on Tuesday after Pelosi endorsed the launch of an impeachment inquiry, said they’d heard “some” or “a lot” about news accounts of Trump leaning on administration officials to withhold military assistance from Ukraine before pressing the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to investigate allegedly corrupt acts by Biden and his son, Hunter, who had worked with a Ukrainian natural gas company.
When directly informed of the news accounts, the share of voters who said they are backing impeachment because they believe Trump committed an impeachable offense rose 7 points, to 66 percent, a sign of the potential pain for Trump as more details become public.
Trump -- who has denied wrongdoing and accused the still-unnamed intelligence community whistleblower’s complaint of being a “political hack job” -- released Wednesday a White House document detailing his call with Zelensky, in which he is quoted asking the country’s new president to “do us a favor,” repeatedly invoking the possible Biden probe.
And since Monday, the number of House lawmakers supporting impeachment proceedings hit a majority of 218, with most House Democrats backing the move, along with independent Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, a former Republican. That number includes several Democratic lawmakers who represent among the most competitive House districts the party is set to defend in 2020, including Reps. Angie Craig of Minnesota, Antonio Delgado of New York and Abigail Spanberger of Virginia.
That movement in favor of impeachment on Capitol Hill was reflected among Democratic voters. As more details about the allegations against Trump have emerged since the Sept. 20-22 poll, the share of Democratic voters backing impeachment rose from 66 percent to 79 percent, reaching its highest point in the roughly 20 times Morning Consult has asked the question since May 2017.
Republicans on Capitol Hill have largely stood by the president, but there has been a slight movement among the party’s voters. Since the weekend, the share of Republican voters backing impeachment doubled, to 10 percent, while 85 percent oppose it.
The Ukraine story, and subsequent calls for his impeachment, have not changed Trump’s already-low approval rating. Forty-one percent of voters approve of Trump and 56 percent disapprove, roughly unchanged since the Sept. 20-22 poll.
Eli Yokley is a senior data reporter at Morning Consult covering politics and campaigns. @eyokley