Registered American voters remain as polarized as ever regrading the subject of impeaching President Donald Trump, according to new polling data released by Yahoo News/YouGov.
However, both sides of the political aisle will likely find cause to champion the latest numbers, providing something of a catch-22 scenario for Democrats. As the poll illustrates, a slim majority of registered voters (52%) believe President Trump was acting on his own behalf, rather than America’s, during his now infamous phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. While only 35% of polled registered voters say the president was not placing his own interests over that of the country’s, the impeachment hearings have failed to persuade additional Republicans and independents that Trump must be removed from office. It is on this issue that registered voters are split nearly down the middle: 47% favoring the actual removal of Trump from office, while 45% are opposed. Furthermore, since late November, Republican voters have increased their opposition to impeachment by 11%, while Democrats have increased their support by 7%.
Although Democrats maintain a very slight advantage according to this data, they do not yet have reason to celebrate. The success or failure of their impeachment push, of course, lies with a prospective trial in the United States Senate. The removal of a president requires the votes of two-thirds of U.S. senators, and the above data showcases the needle of public opinion remains largely unchanged. Reflecting on the implications of the polling data, Andrew Romano writes: “Such narrow pluralities are unlikely to convince 20 Senate Republicans — the number required for a two-thirds majority— to break ranks and vote to remove a president of their own party.”
Barring unforeseen events, Democrats can likely only count on few GOP senators joining their Democratic counterparts on impeachment. As reported in The Hill, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) touted that a “handful” of senate Republicans would vote in favor of impeachment. Among the potential “handful” includes Sens. Mitt Romney, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski. While the support of these Republicans would not be enough to remove President Trump from office, Democrats would gladly take the opportunity to champion their impeachment drive as “bipartisan.”
Democrats have much to contemplate as their impeachment effort continues. If they forego a senate trial, they stand to be accused of wasting time and engaging in a partisan investigation that amounted to nothing. Conversely, if impeachment progresses to a senate trial and Trump emerges victorious, Democrats would bear the brunt of defeat, the ramifications of which could be very wide-ranging.
Written by Red Blue Divide editorial staff.