CNN's latest poll
Our CNN poll taken mostly after special counsel Robert Mueller's statement to the press regarding his report reveals a political landscape largely unchanged. A majority of voters, 54%, are against impeaching Trump and removing him from office. That is down from 61% last month.
But the 54% against impeachment is higher than it was at the end of last year.
Here are a few other takeaways from our latest CNN poll:
- The crowd that is strongly against impeaching and removing the President (45%) is significantly larger than the crowd strongly for impeaching and removing Trump (36%)
- Most Democratic primary voters (74%) are for impeaching and removing the President from office, which helps to explain why so many Democratic presidential candidates are for it
- Although voters are against impeaching and removing Trump, a majority of voters (54%) think congressional Democrats are investigating Trump the right amount or too little
- The vast majority of voters (68%) who answered the poll after Mueller's statement said he should testify before Congress, including a majority of Democrats, Independents and Republicans
- Trump's approval rating stands at 43% among voters. That's basically equal to the 44% it was last month.
We've already discussed why the smart political move for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is not to impeach Trump. Many Democratic presidential candidates though have come out for it.
The disconnect may seem odd at first, but it makes a lot of sense when you consider who their audiences are.
Pelosi is interested in winning the 2020 general election. Democratic presidential candidates are more interested at this point in winning a Democratic primary.
The vast majority of Democratic primary voters (74%) think that Trump should be impeached and removed from office.
But it's not just that Democratic primary voters are for impeachment -- it's their intensity for it. Among Democratic primary voters, 66% are strongly for impeaching and removing Trump from office.
Of course, merely being for impeachment is not necessarily something that will give votes to Democratic candidates. Democrats are placing a historically high emphasis on electability in 2020. Given that a majority of voters are against impeachment, Democratic primary voters may be for impeachment, but also may view candidates who are for it as less electable.
It's almost certainly the case that Pelosi is feeling that way right now. She doesn't want to put House Democrats from more swing districts in electoral jeopardy by having them defend a leader who is for impeachment.
That may be something Democratic presidential candidates want to keep in mind.
The Trump administration is trying to keep certain people who are or were once affiliated with his administration from testifying before Congress. Our polling suggests that hampering congressional Democrats may brighten President Donald Trump's smile, but it isn't necessarily politically smart.
The majority of voters in our poll, 53%, say Trump does too little to cooperate with those investigating him. Only 43% say he's doing the right amount or too much cooperating.
You'll note that is nearly the inverse of our question asking whether voters thought Democrats were investigating Trump too much. In that question, 41% of voters said congressional Democrats were investigating Trump too much.
Indeed, both questions are being driven by how voters feel about Trump overall. For instance, 53% of voters disapprove of Trump's job performance and 53% think Trump is doing too little to cooperate with congressional Democratic investigations.
This is a very different relationship from Trump's job performance and whether Trump should be impeached and removed from office. Those who approve of Trump are uniformly against impeachment (98%), while not all (76%) who disapprove of Trump are for it. As I wrote earlier, the 24% who disapprove of Trump and are not for impeaching and removing him from office are far more likely to be Independents or Republicans.
Put another way: Trump's not going to get anywhere with the electorate by stopping Congress. Those opposed to him will stay opposed. His best chance of moving the dial in his direction is if Democrats decide to try and impeach him.
Earlier this week, I wrote a piece titled "Why Nancy Pelosi's impeachment strategy is politically smart". Our poll suggests that the basic thesis of that piece holds, even after Mueller delivered his public statement.
Pelosi wants to continue investigating into Trump, while not opening an impeachment inquiry. Voters seem more than open to continue investigating Trump. In our poll, only 41% of voters say congressional Democrats are investigating Trump too much. A total of 54% say they are either investigating Trump the right amount or not enough.
This 54% is made up almost entirely of voters who dislike Trump. Among those who disapprove of Trump's job performance, 88% say congressional Democrats are either investigating Trump the right amount or not enough. Just 7% say they're investigating Trump too much.
Pelosi risks very little politically by having House Democrats continue their investigations of Trump.
On the other hand, she puts more at risk by walking down the impeachment trail. As I've spoken about in earlier posts, a majority of voters are against impeaching and removing Trump from office. That matches earlier polls asking voters about whether they want to start investigating whether congressional Democrats should impeach Trump.
Our poll also shows that Democrats are not as uniformly aboard the impeachment train, and, that among all voters, the strongly against impeachment force is a significantly larger portion of the electorate than those who are strongly for it.
Last month, President Donald Trump walked out of a meeting with congressional Democrats that was supposed to be about infrastructure. He said that Democrats had to choose between working with him or investigating him. Voters seem to think he's serious.
Just 19% of voters think that congressional Democrats and Trump will be able to work together on issues as Trump is being investigated. The vast majority, 79%, think that they won't be able to.
Interestingly, it's Trump's base who are more likely to think the two sides might be able to work together. Among those who approve of Trump's job performance, 24% think Trump and congressional Democrats will be able to work together if investigations continue. That drops to 13% among those who disapprove of Trump.
If Trump was hoping to pin a lack of productivity on Democrats, our poll will be disappointing for him. By a 6-point margin, those who think the two groups can't work together blame Trump. What's interesting about this difference is that the group who thinks the two sides can't work together leans more pro-Trump than electorate overall.
The problem for Trump is that his base is more likely to blame him for a lack of productivity than those against Trump are likely to blame Democrats. Just 3% of anti-Trump voters who think congressional Democrats can't work together say congressional Democrats are at fault. That compares with 9% of Trump approvers who blame Trump.
You might be able to see House Democrats moving forward on impeachment if intensity were on their side — that is, if those for impeachment held their views more strongly than those against it.
The problem for people who are pro-impeachment is this isn't the case. Our poll suggests that impeachment would more likely rev up the Republican base than it would rev up the Democratic base.
Those who are strongly against impeaching and removing the President from office outnumber the strongly for impeaching and removing the President from office crowd by a 45% to 36% margin. This is basically the same as it was in April, when the breakdown was 45% strongly against impeachment and 34% strongly for it.
You can see this clearly when you look at this question by Trump's approval rating. Among those who disapprove of Trump's job performance, 68% feel strongly that Trump should be impeached and removed from office. Among those who approve of Trump's job performance, 91% feel strongly that Trump should not be impeached and removed from office.
The intensity gap is the opposite of what we've seen on Trump's approval generally speaking. Voters have been far more likely to say they strongly disapprove than strongly approve of Trump's job performance.
In other words, Democrats, at this point, risk reversing an intensity gap if they decide to impeach Trump.
One question you may have: Who among the anti-Trump contingent is also in the anti-impeachment contingent?
About 17% of those who disapprove of the President's job performance don't want him to be impeached and removed from office. Another 7% are unsure. It's this nearly quarter of voters in total who are likely keeping Nancy Pelosi from moving on impeachment against Trump.
A look across different variables indicates that this group tends to be more toward the center of the electorate. Less than half call themselves Democrats. Among the pro-impeachment crowd, 68% call themselves Democrats.
The no-impeachment and anti-Trump crowd are far more moderate. Only about a quarter identify as liberal. Among the pro-impeachment crowd, 46% identify as liberal.
Interestingly, despite Pelosi keeping impeachment off the docket, the no-impeachment and anti-Trump crowd is more anti-Pelosi than the pro-impeachment crowd. Pelosi's favorable rating is less than 60% among the anti-impeachment group. It's greater than 75% among the pro-impeachment group.
There does not seem to be any real differences between the anti- and pro-impeachment groups by age or race. The pro-impeachment group is somewhat more likely to hold a college degree, though they generally tend to be more liberal overall.