Support for impeaching Trump soars among independents: Poll

Overall, 46 per cent of Americans said they supported impeachment and 40 per cent said they opposed it.
Overall, 46 per cent of Americans said they supported impeachment and 40 per cent said they opposed it.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Support for impeaching United States President Donald Trump has surged among political independents and rose by three percentage points overall since last week, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Tuesday (Oct 22).

More Americans also said they disapproved of the President's handling of foreign threats.

The Oct 18 to 22 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 and 40 per cent said they opposed 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 had said they were in favour of impeachment in more than a dozen previous Reuters/Ipsos polls since June 2018.

Mr Trump 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 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.

The President 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.

He also 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 (ISIS) 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.

Overall, the poll found that Americans were more critical of Mr Trump's handling of US foreign policy and ISIS than they were in a similar poll in April.

Among Republicans, 73 per cent said they approved of the President's handling of US foreign policy and 75 per cent said they approved of his handling of ISIS, down six points and eight points, respectively, from April.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online in English throughout the US. It gathered responses from 4,083 adults, including 1,773 Democrats, 1,542 Republicans and 447 independents.

It has a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of five percentage points.