The big news out of CNN’s new national poll is that, for the first time since we started asking the question in June 2018, more people think President Donald Trump should be impeached than believe he shouldn’t.
Which is bad for the President! But there are other numbers in the poll that make clear that, at least at the moment, the President is losing the battle of public opinion on impeachment.
* More people (49%) believe Democrats are pursuing impeachment because they think Trump has crossed a line than say Democrats are simply out to get Trump (38%).
* Conversely, roughly equal numbers of people believe Republican opposition to Trump’s impeachment is based on a genuine belief that he did nothing impeachable (43%) versus a desire to protect the President at all costs (42%).
* A near-majority (48%) say that Trump used the presidency “improperly” in regard to his interaction with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, while 39% say he did not.
Every data point is bad for Trump in the polling released by CNN on Monday evening. Every one.
Now, it is absolutely possible that the newness of this Ukraine story coupled with the wall-to-wall coverage it has received over the past 10-ish days has produced a polling bump for impeachment that, as the House Democrats’ investigation drags on, will fade. We are a nation of short attention spans and, because of that, it’s very hard to gauge whether we are looking at a temporary change in the political realities surrounding impeachment or some more permanent tectonic plate-shifting.
But for Trump, numbers like these will only add to his agitation and irritation at his predicament. And further the pressure he feels to do something – anything! – to change the national conversation to friendlier ground.
The Point: As the past 72 hours of manic Trump activity on Twitter have revealed, the President is deeply engaged in trying to change the narrative surrounding this impeachment inquiry. So far, no good.