A new study from ABC News and The Washington Post seems to substantiate a trend running across multiple polls taken since Special Counsel Robert Mueller released his report on collusion between the Trump administration and the Russian government (or lack thereof): far fewer people now say they support impeaching President Trump.
The Washington Post, reticent to describe the poll as "good news" for the president, noted that support for instituting impeachment proceedings has taken a "slight dip over the past month," but there are significant changes, particularly among Democrats.
Overall, only 37% of voters across the board now support impeaching the president, down five points from January. But among Democrats, support for impeachment has dropped by double digits — 12% — since the Mueller report was published, down from nearly 75% of Democratic voters to 62%. "Independents," who will be key to a Trump re-election victory, responded even better than Americans at large: only 36% now believe Trump should be impeached.
The results come even as Democrats have shifted their focus from investigating collusion between the Trump 2016 presidential campaign and the Russian government designed to alter the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, to investigating whether President Donald Trump interfered or obstructed the Mueller investigation.
Although voters do seem to believe Trump "tried to interfere with the Russia investigation," their real concern was the collusion itself, and the public does believe that Mueller, who spent 22 months digging into the subject, cleared the Trump campaign of the collusion charge.
The poll comes on the heels of at least one other study that showed the Mueller report pushed favorable movement for Trump among key voters.
That's good news for both Trump and, oddly enough, Congressional Democrats.
For Trump, it signals that his re-election campaign will likely have one less thing to worry about, and that voters believe the president's assertions that he has been "cleared" by the special counsel and that "collusion" was a non-starter. It also seems to take the wind out of the sails of progressive activist groups, who had organized their opposition strategy to the president around the "Russia collusion" narrative. They must now undo nearly two years of work while they also struggle with decreased interest.
It also means that Trump may not be impacted as greatly by ongoing Congressional investigations into the "obstruction charges." People believe the charges, it seems, but the charges aren't having a marked impact on how they vote.
For Congressional Democrats looking to attract independent and centrist voters to the Democratic 2020 presidential candidate, the poll signals that they made the right decision in not pursuing impeachment — a decision made to the great sadness of progressive groups — in the days following the Mueller report's release. Only hardcore leftists, like Rep. Rashida Tliab (D-MI) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) have been pushing the impeachment narrative of late; even Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), long the backbone of the in-Congress "resistance," has backed off the threat.
Impeachment proceedings, it seems, would have cost Democrats with centrist and independent voters, which they need to swing back to blue in order to recapture key states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida, Arizona, and Nevada.