So far, the impeachment inquiry hasn’t really affected President Trump’s popularity. Polling averages suggest that the president’s approval rating has declined by only about one or two percentage points since the Ukraine scandal broke.
That’s not too surprising. Trump’s approval rating has been remarkably stable over his presidency’s 18 months. Moreover, it’s hard for the scandal to affect Trump supporters’ approval when most of his base either doesn’t think that the president asked Ukraine to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden or thinks that doing so was appropriate.
Perhaps just as predictably, the impeachment inquiry has boosted Nancy Pelosi’s popularity. The figure below from Civiqs’ daily tracking polls shows that Nancy Pelosi’s favorability rating immediately jumped six percentage points after she announced the impeachment inquiry into President Trump, moving from 31 to 37 percent.
Weekly Economist/YouGov surveys have found a similar increase in Pelosi’s favorability rating among registered voters since the impeachment inquiry. Her favorability rating of 45 percent among registered voters in the firm’s latest survey was higher than in any survey since RealClearPolitics began cataloguing “Pelosi polls” in mid-2018.
What Trump opposes becomes more popular
All these results are consistent with what I’ve reported here at TMC in the past. For instance, Trump’s record unpopularity helped make Barack Obama and Muslims more popular during the 2016 campaign, while eroding support for his signature border wall.
These trends have continued since the election. Trump’s opposition to immigration and Islam has increasingly made the country in general, and Democrats in particular, more supportive of immigrants and Muslims.
In fact, the impeachment inquiry is now the second time that taking on Trump has made Pelosi more popular. As noted in a TMC post early this year, the speaker’s opposition to Trump during the 2018-2019 government shutdown increased her favorability rating by about eight percentage points.
Pelosi’s popularity has risen even more among Democrats
During both the shutdown and the impeachment inquiry, Democrats quickly rallied behind Pelosi’s stand against the president. Among Democrats surveyed by Civiqs, her favorability rating is nine percentage points higher than immediately before the impeachment inquiry, moving from 66 percent to 75 percent.
Pelosi’s numbers are up with independents, too, who support her by seven more points than before the inquiry, jumping from 18 percent to 25 percent.
To be sure, Pelosi is still unpopular overall, with more Americans rating her unfavorably than favorably. But her impeachment bounce bucks the usual trend, in which speakers have become less popular over time. She is also much more popular than her predecessors John A. Boehner and Paul D. Ryan were during their speakerships.
Pelosi seems to understand the political power of opposing Trump, too. She recently changed her cover photo on Twitter to an image of her literally standing up to President Trump in the White House.
At the very least, the growing public support for both Pelosi and impeachment shows that the politics of impeachment are not as perilous for Democrats as the speaker once thought.