New public opinion surveys show signs of trouble for President Trump in the fast-evolving impeachment inquiry unfolding just 13 months out from Election Day.
Polls out this week show independents and a growing share of Republicans warming to the inquiry or expressing concern about Trump’s request that Ukraine investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.
While early shifts in support of impeachment appeared to be driven by Democrats, a Washington Post-Schar School poll released on Tuesday rocked Washington, finding that nearly 30 percent of Republicans support the impeachment investigation and nearly 20 percent support a Senate vote to remove the president if he is impeached in the House.
Since July, the poll found support for an impeachment inquiry has grown by 25 points among Democrats, 21 points among Republicans and 20 points among independents.
According to FiveThirtyEight’s average of polls, support for impeachment among Republicans has increased from 8 percent last month to 16.2 percent presently, while support among independents has leaped from 33.9 percent to 44.4 percent.
Some Democrats who were worried that impeachment would backfire are breathing a little bit easier now, confident that if they lay out the case for impeachment, public opinion will follow.
“This is becoming a serious liability for the president and for the Republicans who remain with him,” said Andrew Feldman, a Democratic strategist.
Still, there is debate among experts about the significance of the new polls, and not all Democrats are convinced that the impeachment gamble won’t come back to haunt them.
“Hillary Clinton was leading in the polls on Election Day,” said one Democratic fundraiser. “I want to see this poll again when we start having people testify over the course of a few months after Republicans stay on message and use Fox News to their advantage. If by then independents are still for it, ok. But I don’t see that happening.”
Trump and his allies have only just begun running millions of dollars worth of ads attacking Democrats for launching the impeachment inquiry.