Despite several controversies, including the firing of FBI Director James Comey, US president Donald Trump’s approval rating has remained pretty stable at 40% in the past weeks, according to polling released today by Public Policy Polling (pdf, p.3).
What is going up, however, is the number of Americans who support impeaching Trump: It was 35% in late January; it went up to 46% for (and 46% against) in February; then support for impeachment dipped slightly. But it has now reached 48%—outpacing for the first time the percentage of Americans who oppose Trump’s impeachment (41%).
Those who are pushing for Trump’s impeachment see this as an encouraging sign: The electorate seems to want to see the president questioned and brought to account for his actions. But Trump’s critics shouldn’t break out the champagne just yet: Those numbers actually don’t mean much, and not just because any polling should be taken with caution (as the election showed).
On a closer examination, the data reflect little more than the country’s partisan composition: The 48% people who want to see the president impeached doesn’t even reach the 48.2% of voters who cast their ballots for Hillary Clinton.
There is no reason to believe that a large percentage of Trump’s Republican supporters now think the president should be impeached. Unless and until that happens, it’s unlikely Republican lawmakers would join a call for impeachment. And without the majority party’s support, the process would not be able to move forward.