Impeachment Hearings Fail to Move Public Opinion


After 30 hours of televised hearings, a dozen witnesses, at least a couple of major revelations and scores of tweeted rebuttals, voters in Wisconsin and nationwide aren’t changing their minds about removing the Republican president. If they came into the inquiry defensive of Trump, they likely still are. And if they were inclined to think the president abused his power, they didn’t need televised hearings to prove it.

“For the most part, most Americans already have pretty solidified views of the president,” said Josh Schwerin, senior strategist for the Democratic super PAC Priorities USA. “There’s a small segment of the population that can be moved, and they’re not paying as close attention to the day-to-day ins and outs of the impeachment hearings.”

It’s a disappointing — if not unexpected — response for Democrats, who had hoped to use the hearings to sway public opinion. Without that backing, it’s virtually impossible to imagine Republican senators voting to convict Trump.

It’s also a reaction that leaves the political impact of this dramatic chapter in American history remarkably uncertain. If the division on the question holds, and independents remain disengaged, it is possible that impeachment and Senate trial may ultimately play little role in Trump’s reelection bid next year.

Two polls released this week showed the public remains roughly evenly divided over whether Trump should be impeached and removed from office. Although there was a one-time increase in support after the inquiry launched, polls have since remained stable.