What impeachment inquiry? America's made up its mind on Trump, polls suggest

A Morning Consult and Politico poll found that 46 per cent of independents opposed impeaching President Donald Trump, compared to the 39 per cent who supported it. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON - The ongoing impeachment inquiry into US President Donald Trump has done little to change the American public's views of him and may even have alienated some swing voters, according to new polling.

Early support for impeaching Mr Trump has faded despite days of sobering testimony from non-partisan veteran public servants on an alleged campaign to pressure Ukraine to open an investigation damaging to his political rival Joe Biden, suggesting that America has made up its mind on the President.

An Emerson National poll conducted from Nov 17 to 20 - after four days of public hearings - found that 43 per cent support impeachment, down from the 48 per cent who supported impeachment in October.

The survey found that the biggest swing came from independent voters. Half of them - 49 per cent - now oppose impeachment, up from the 34 per cent who opposed impeachment in October.

The survey found that most voters had been paying attention to the impeachment inquiry, with the hearings being watched or followed by 69 per cent of people.

The Emerson poll suggests the impeachment inquiry may have bolstered Mr Trump's position, with his approval rating rising to 48 per cent this month from 43 per cent last month.

Republican voters are also closing ranks around Mr Trump, with 93 per cent preferring him as the Republican candidate for the 2020 presidential election over his primary challengers Bill Weld and Joe Walsh.

"The impeachment at this point isn't having any effect because it's not moving independents or Republicans against Trump," said Fordham University political scientist Monika McDermott at a briefing for reporters, referring to the polling results.

"If something this major can't shake the core of support that he has, then I don't see anything really able to do that. So I don't see impeachment as really having any kind of lasting impact on the elections because it's not shaking his core of support," she added.

The findings supported another national tracking poll released by Morning Consult and Politico last Tuesday (Nov 19), after the first of the hearings had started.

That poll found that 46 per cent of independents opposed impeaching Mr Trump and removing him from office, compared to the 39 per cent who supported it.

A third poll by Marquette Law School released a day later took a closer look at the swing state of Wisconsin and found that 53 per cent of voters there thought the President should not be impeached, compared to the 40 per cent who thought he should.

With the public hearings having wrapped up on Thursday (Nov 21), Democrats are now deciding whether and how to move forward with drawing up articles of impeachment, which the House would then have to vote on.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi confirmed that her party would not wait for the courts to decide whether to grant subpoenas of other key witnesses, calling the strategy vulnerable to stonewalling from Republicans.

Should the House vote to impeach, the next step will be a Senate trial to convict or acquit the President.

Mr Trump said without elaboration that he would welcome a trial, during a phone interview with Fox News on Friday morning.

But the President has so far been "impervious to any kind of negativity" and this is likely to continue, said Professor McDermott.

"His supporters have gotten to a point where they just believe this is in fact a witch hunt, and the Democrats are just out to get Trump and not actually prosecuting what is a valid case.

"As long as they continue to believe that, there's no reason for them to change their views or their support of Trump," she added. "They feel as though he's being unfairly prosecuted."

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