Support for impeachment spikes dramatically as Trump's Ukraine crisis spirals out of control

Support for impeachment spikes dramatically as Trump's Ukraine crisis spirals out of control
Schumer and Pelosi/Shutterstock
Schumer and Pelosi/Shutterstock

Multiple polls showed on Thursday that support for the impeachment of the president among the American people has risen significantly — just as Democrats have plunged into a new stage of their investigation of Donald Trump this week and his White House has become engulfed in the Ukraine scandal.

NPR reported Thursday that a new poll, conducted along with PBS and Marist, found that 49 percent of Americans support impeachment, while 46 percent oppose it. In April, only 39 percent favored impeaching Trump, while 53 percent were against it in the same poll.

A poll from SurveyMonkey, reported by Business Insider, found that 45 percent of respondents support impeachment, while only 30 percent said they were opposed. Another 25 percent said they did not know.

"Respondents were considerably more in favor than has been seen in other polling recently. It's unclear, however, whether this is a result of sampling, phrasing, or a genuine shift in opinion," Business Insider noted.

Asked whether "launching a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump for soliciting foreign interference in a US election is the right thing to do," 53 percent said probably or definitely yes. Only 33 percent said probably or definitely not.

Another poll from Morning Consult found the spike in favor of impeachment in just the last week. Over the weekend, support for impeachment was at 36 percent, while 49 percent opposed it. But in the last few days, support for impeachment rose to 43 percent, while opposition dropped to 43 percent — with 13 percent undecided.

None of this means that moving forward with impeachment presents no risks for Democrats. Support for impeachment still isn't overwhelming, and key groups may oppose it. The new spike in multiple polls could just be a blip, rather than, as some Democrats hope, a turning of the tide. Republicans believe they can weaponize impeachment against Democrats in 2020, and they might prove to be correct.

But the polling does suggest that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was on to something when she suddenly came forward on Tuesday proclaiming full-throated support for an impeachment inquiry, with a majority of House lawmakers behind her. She knew that Trump's latest Ukraine scandal was something different — and she decided it was time to take the leap. That choice, along with the facts of the case against Trump, may have triggered the shift in the poll numbers.

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