More independents support impeaching Trump, poll shows

NEW YORK • Support for impeaching US President Donald Trump has surged among political independents and rose by three percentage points overall since last week.

A Reuters/Ipsos survey released on Tuesday also showed more Americans saying they disapproved of the President's handling of foreign threats.

The poll showed public opinion continued to shift as Americans digested a flurry of news over the past several weeks stemming from the congressional impeachment inquiry and Mr Trump's decision to pull troops from northern Syria.

Overall, 46 per cent of Americans said they supported impeachment, with 40 per cent opposed to it.

Support for impeachment was relatively steady among Republicans and Democrats over the past week, but it surged among independents, a group that includes people who neither identify as Democrats nor Republicans and do not favour either party when they vote.

Among independents, 45 per cent said in the latest poll that they supported impeachment and 32 per cent said they opposed it, the strongest level of support recorded in more than a year.

A little more than one in three independents said they were in favour of impeachment in over a dozen previous Reuters/Ipsos polls since June last year.

Mr Trump had leveraged his advantage in support among independents to narrowly win the White House in 2016 and it is expected that he will need them again to be re-elected.

The latest Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted after several administration officials backed up portions of a government whistle-blower's report that alleged Mr Trump pressured Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate one of his main political rivals, former vice-president Joe Biden.

 
 
 

The report said Mr Trump linked the probe to the release of foreign aid to Ukraine.

Mr Trump has denied any wrongdoing. He has tried to block administration officials from cooperating with the investigation and this week said he was the victim of a "lynching", a racially charged description that was quickly condemned by many lawmakers.

The President ordered US troops to withdraw from northern Syria two weeks ago, ahead of Turkey's cross-border offensive against the Kurds. The Turkish offensive displaced hundreds of thousands of people and raised concerns that it would allow prisoners from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria militant group to escape.

Mr Trump's decision drew a sharp bipartisan rebuke in Congress and the poll shows it may have hurt his standing among rank-and-file Republicans.

REUTERS

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2019, with the headline 'More independents support impeaching Trump, poll shows'. Print Edition | Subscribe