NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Most Democrats want to impeach United States President Donald Trump, even if that means weakening their party's chances of winning back the White House in the 2020 election, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll.
The poll, conducted on Monday (Oct 7) and Tuesday, found that 55 per cent of Democrats said that their party leaders should press ahead with impeachment even "if it means a lengthy and expensive process that could weaken their chances of winning the presidency in 2020".
And even a higher number - 66 per cent of Democrats - agreed that Congress should pursue impeachment, "even if that means they will need to postpone efforts to pass laws that could benefit me".
Overall, the poll found that support for impeachment remains unchanged overall among all Americans - holding at 45 per cent since last week. But opposition to impeachment dropped by 2 percentage points from last week to 39 per cent.
Among those who identify as Democrats, 79 per cent said Mr Trump should be impeached, up 5 percentage points from a similar poll that ran on Sept 26-30.
Only 12 per cent of Republicans and about one in three independents supported impeachment, which is mostly unchanged from last week.
Support for impeaching Mr Trump has been rising since late September after an unidentified US intelligence official filed a whistle-blower complaint accusing the President of pressuring Ukraine to ensnare Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden and his son in a corruption investigation.
Mr Biden, the former vice-president, is an early favourite to win the Democratic presidential nomination, and opinion polls show that he fares better than other Democrats including Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders in a hypothetical general election match-up against Mr Trump.
The whistle-blower complaint, denounced by Mr Trump as a "witch hunt" carried out by his political enemies, has since been backed up by a second unidentified whistle-blower who has more direct knowledge than the first of some of the allegations in the complaint, according to the person's lawyers.
Mr Trump, who says he was acting out of his duty to root out corruption, said last week that China should also investigate Mr Biden.
Overall, the Reuters/Ipsos poll showed that 51 per cent of all Americans agreed that Mr Trump "pressured" Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the Bidens, while 27 per cent disagreed.
And 59 per cent agreed that Congress should investigate "if President Trump committed impeachable offences" as part of his conversation with Mr Zelensky.
In general, 39 per cent said they approved of the job Mr Trump was doing and 55 per cent disapproved.
Ms Elaine Kamarck, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said the poll shows how much Democratic voters have lined up behind Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and moderate House Democrats who had been cautious about pursuing an impeachment inquiry earlier this year.
"That phone call (between Trump and Zelensky) changed everything," Ms Kamarck said.
"The moderates, Speaker Pelosi, they changed their minds in a very public way in favour of impeachment. They've been making their case to the public, and some of them have followed."
Democratic voter Moneque Jarmon, 51, from Philadelphia said she doubted Mr Trump would be removed from office through the impeachment process. But it was important to set a precedent that the President is accountable for his actions, she said.
"The fact that he tweets every few minutes, the risky behaviour he's doing - he's advertising that he can do whatever he wants, like he's the President and nobody can touch him," she said. "The longer he stays in there, the more damage he's going to do."
Ms Jarmon, who supports Mr Biden as an experienced candidate to take on Mr Trump, said Congress had for a long time failed to pass important legislation like gun control, so she doubted an impeachment process would make the situation worse.
The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online, in English, throughout the US. It gathered responses from 1,118 adults, including 454 who identify as Democrats and 457 who identify as Republicans. It has as credibility interval, a measure of precision, of five percentage points.