While impeachment fever has gripped the Democratic Party, the voters are not nearly so sure, according to a poll released Wednesday.
The Marist poll of of 827 registered voters, taken April 10 through April 13, has a 3.9 percent margin of error. It found that voters are less willing to support than oppose a congressional candidate promising to impeach President Donald Trump.
Some 47 percent said they definitely would vote against a candidate who wants to impeach the president, compared with 42 percent who definitely would vote for that candidate. One in 10 voters said they were unsure.
Even 30 percent of Democrats said they would vote against a pro-impeachment candidate or were unsure.
Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, noted that the results break down along partisan lines.
“But, because nearly one-third of Democrats are not eager to open up this debate, it is one potential campaign issue that advantages the GOP,” he said in a statement.
“Democrats have been talking about that since Nov. 8 . That narrative doesn’t seem to be selling with their voters.”
The poll overall paints a favorable political environment for Democrats ahead of the November elections. The party holds an advantage of 5 percentage points, 44 percent to 39 percent, on the question of which party voters would support in the midterms.
What’s more, Trump’s approval rating is upside down — 57 percent have an unfavorable view of him, compared with 36 percent who view him positively. The Republican-controlled Congress is deeply unpopular — 78 percent of adults have little or no confidence in the legislature — and 56 percent say the country is moving in the wrong direction.
But the impeachment question suggests Democrats could blow their advantage.
“We just haven’t triggered anything for impeachment,” said Bryan Lanza, a political consultant who was deputy communications director for Trump’s presidential campaign and communications director for his transition team. “Democrats have been talking about that since Nov. 8 . That narrative doesn’t seem to be selling with their voters.”
But impeachment talk only has grown louder within the Democratic Party as a couple of Trump’s former aides have faced criminal charges from special counsel Robert Mueller — although none related to the Russian election inference he was appointed to investigate.
California billionaire Tom Steyer has spent millions of dollars on daily cable television ads urging Congress to remove the president from office. Nearly 5.2 million people have signed his online petition.
It is not just activists on the outside. In January, 66 Democrats in the House of Representatives supported an impeachment resolution introduced by Rep. Al Green (D-Texas).
But Lanza argued that most Americans recognize that impeachment is an extreme remedy for serious breaches — not a political ploy to be trifled with lightly.
“If Democrats go to the primary ballot and impeachment is the litmus test, Democrats will not regain control of Congress,” he told LifeZette. “They will suffer historic defeats.”