The House Judiciary Committee began its hearings on whether or not President Donald Trump should be impeached this week, and the latest Economist/YouGov Poll finds that only a third of the country is very interested in watching those hearings. The interest comes mostly from those who have already made up their minds that the president should be impeached. More than half of Democrats (53%) say they will be watching the Judiciary Committee hearings – just about twice the share of Republicans (27%) and Independents (24%) who claim they’ll tune in.
Certainly, the House Intelligence Committee hearings moved few Americans. Support for impeachment tracks closely with a belief of whether or not there was a quid pro quo with Ukraine—that the president purposefully held back military aid that Congress had approved for Ukraine in return for the country investigating the Ukraine business dealings of former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter.
Relatively little movement has been recorded in support for impeachment or opposition to it. A plurality of US adults (45%) – though never a majority – have been in favor, and continue to support it. Opposition from Democrats (6%) and support from Republicans (7%) have stayed in single digits; Independents have been closely divided all along. This week, 37 percent support impeachment and an equal number (37%) are opposed.
Most Republicans not only reject the existence of a quid pro quo, but also reject the belief that trading an investigation for military aid rises to the level of an impeachable offense. Only 11 percent of Republicans believe that if there were an attempt to link military aid to an investigation, it would be impeachable. Essentially, those Republicans who think it did happen call it an impeachable offense; those who believe it did not happen claim it would not be impeachable even if true.
Republicans and Democrats agree on one thing: Ukraine did not interfere in the 2016 US presidential election (though the theory that Ukraine did interfere has been picked up by several prominent Republicans, including the president himself, and rejected by others, like Senator Mitt Romney). A majority of Republicans (53%) and a plurality of Democrats (47%) say Ukraine did not interfere in the 2016 election. A plurality of Independents (43%) say “not sure,” but nearly two in five (39%) say Ukraine did not interfere.
The parties split when it comes to recognizing that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, though more Republicans believe Russia interfered (31%) than think Ukraine did (21%).
However, most of those Republicans who accept Russian interference in the 2016 election, don’t think it made a difference in the outcome. More than two-thirds of Republicans (69%) who believe Russia did interfere in 2016 say it made no difference. Among all of those who believe there was Russian interference – Republicans, Democrats, and Independents combined – 67 percent believe that interference did affect the outcome.
As Congress moves further along with the impeachment inquiry, Americans aren’t happy about the Trump Administration’s refusal to comply with Congressional subpoenas. Half of US adults (49%) “somewhat disapprove” or “strongly disapprove,” including a plurality of Independents (43%) A majority of Republicans (74%) approve of the decision to not cooperate with the impeachment inquiry by refusing to provide requested documents and telling administration officials to ignore Congressional subpoenas.