This may be a relatively minor point and it’s a bit in the weeds. But it’s important to note. On CNN a couple days ago I saw David Chalian say that polling numbers are getting more complicated for Democrats on impeachment because independents are moving from significant support to more like evenly divided. But that’s actually not quite true. What has happened is that the question pollsters are asking, and especially the ones they and the press are focusing on, are changing.
Initial polls in the wake of the Democrats initiating an impeachment inquiry mainly focused on the inquiry itself. Or, again, that was the main focus of press attention. They are now focusing more and more on the core question of removal from office. Not surprisingly, the decision to remove a President from office is a significant steeper hill for most voters than merely investigating the grounds for doing so.
In a sense perhaps it’s the same difference since the operative question before the public is now shifting to one on which the public is more divided. Democrats will soon have to move from inquiry to actually passing articles of impeachment. Most polls show a razor thin margin of plurality support of removal. We actually have three premium polls out today, covering the exact same period (Oct.27-30). And they are remarkably consistent. Yes/No on impeachment and removal is NBC/WSJ 49%-46%, Fox News 49%-45%, ABC/WaPo 49%-47%.