A lot has been written about impeachment of President Trump, and the shift in public opinion. For example, the 538 tracker has about a 4 ppt. advantage for support, a massive shift from late September when Don’t support was up by almost 10 percentage points. And, our polling is no outlier in this array of increasingly worry-some (for Trump!), or increasingly encouraging (for defenders of democracy!) recent polls: In a recent poll throughout late October (our polling relies on Random Device Engagement – randomly targeting cell-phone identifiers with in-app surveys – and advanced analytics, more here), we have Impeach up by 10 percentage points, just a little bit higher than a recent YouGov poll.
Can we expect more change?
As always, our polls go further than other top-line impeachment polls. Our mission was to understand deep-rooted values and sentiment that might be predictive of further swings down the line. First up: perceptions. Pluralities of likely 2020 voters believe that the whistle blower who originally reported on the originally reported on Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian president Zelensky is a patriot (41% vs. 26%), but, only 17% of Republicans believe so. But, a strong majority of all likely voters (59%), and a strong plurality of Republican likely voters (34%) believe it to be outside the norm for a US president to ask foreign countries to investigate their political opponents.
And, knowledge around key events are quite substantial – a clearly worrying sign for Republicans and Trump. Massive majorities of all voters (84%) and Republicans (81%) know that the US president is subject to US law. Likewise, majorities of all likely voters (69%) as well as Republicans (57%) know that Trump asked Ukrainian president Zelensky to investigate the Bidens.
In total, these signs are quite worrying for Republicans. Clearly, Americans are tuned in and quite knowledgeable around the impeachment inquiry, and public hearings could be a real catalist in translating this engagement into further changes in public opinion.
Do not mistake the forest for the trees!
But, it is also important to remind people of the fact that ultimately, the majority of likely voters is not driven by Impeachment. While 17% of all likely 2020 voters, and more than a quarter of Democrats, indicate that impeachment of Trump is their number one concern for 2020, this number is dwarfed by healthcare, which was the central issue for voters in 2018, and is shaping up to be the central issue once again in 2020.