There are two ways to look at Trump's unchanging poll numbers on impeachment

Image: President Donald Trump walks to the Oval Office on Nov. 25, 2019.
President Donald Trump walks to the Oval Office on Nov. 25, 2019. Copyright Jabin Botsford The Washington Post via Getty Images file
By Chuck Todd and Mark Murray and Carrie Dann with NBC News Politics
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First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.


WASHINGTON — After all of the televised hearings, the new revelations and the partisan back-and-forth, public attitudes about the impeachment of President Trump have barely budged.

A Fox News poll released Sunday found 50 percent of registered voters saying they favored Trump's impeachment and removal from office; another 4 percent supported impeachment but not removal; and 41 percent opposed impeachment altogether.

The poll's numbers from late October: 49 percent impeach and remove; 4 percent impeach but don't remove; and 41 percent opposed to impeachment.

Similarly, an NPR/PBS/Marist poll released this morning shows 47 percent of adults backing Trump's impeachment, while 48 percent oppose it.

In November, those numbers were statistically the same — 47 percent support, 46 percent oppose.

Also over the weekend, an online CBS/YouGov poll found 46 percent of Americans saying Trump deserves to be impeached, versus 39 percent saying he doesn't deserve it.

A month ago, it was 43 percent deserves, 40 percent doesn't deserve.

There are two ways to look at these static numbers.

One: LOL, nothing matters.

Two: Half of the country — and a majority in the Fox poll — want the president impeached over his dealings with Ukraine.

So while Trump will probably survive impeachment — with Republicans remaining steadfast — you can't say impeachment has helped him.

His overall political standing is underwater less than a year before his re-election.

When the unemployment rate is at 3.5 percent.

Impartial justice?

During an impeachment trial, senators take an oath to "do impartial justice" during the proceedings, per the Washington Post.

But some GOP senators have said they've already made up their minds, and the Republican Senate Majority Leader has said he's coordinating with President Trump's legal team.

Here was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell last week: "I'm going to coordinate with the president's lawyers. So there won't be any difference between us on how to do this, 'cause we all know how it's going to end."

Here was Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said on CBS yesterday that he has "clearly made up my mind. I'm not trying to hide the fact that I have disdain for the accusations in the process. So I don't need any witnesses."

And here was Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, on ABC, explaining the differences between impeachment and a criminal trial: "The framers understood that impeachment, particularly the impeachment of a president, is inherently a political exercise. Senators are not required, like jurors in a criminal trial, to be sequestered, not to talk to anyone, not to coordinate. There's no prohibition."


By contrast, here was Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., on "Meet the Press" yesterday: "I think it's appropriate to make sure that the president gets a fair trial here, and I think that's the idea. I think it would be extremely inappropriate to put a bullet in this thing immediately when it comes over."

Toomey added, "I think we ought to hear what the House impeachment managers have to say, give the president's attorneys an opportunity to make the defense, and then make a decision about whether and to what extent it would go forward from there."

Tweet of the day

2020 Vision: Will there be a Dem debate on Thursday?

As of this morning, it's unclear if there's going to be a Democratic debate on Thursday.

The debate "was thrown into upheaval on Friday when all seven of the candidates who've qualified for the stage threatened not to attend because of a labor dispute at the site," per NBC News.

"The Thursday debate is scheduled to be held at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, where the food workers' union says it's been working without a contract."


The DNC issued this statement: "We are working with all stakeholders to find an acceptable resolution that meets their needs and is consistent with our values and will enable us to proceed as scheduled with next week's debate."

On the campaign trail today

Elizabeth Warren campaigns in Iowa, holding town halls in Keokuk, Fort Madison and Burlington… Tom Steyer also is in the Hawkeye State, where he delivers a major economic address in Iowa City… Bernie Sanders holds a rally in Coachella Valley, Calif… Deval Patrick is in New Hampshire… And Pete Buttigieg raises money in California, while Amy Klobuchar hits up donors in Chicago.

Dispatches from NBC's campaign embeds

Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have limited how far they'll go in drawing distinctions between each other. At an event in Iowa yesterday, Warren signaled that that's how it will continue to be. NBC's Deepa Shivaram and Maura Barrett report: "[Last night], Warren refused to draw contrast with Bernie Sanders, when she was asked by a voter what makes her a better candidate. 'I just have enormous respect for Bernie, and I'm just not going to stand here and and - no, I'm not,' she said, stumbling, and ultimately not answering the question. NBC News later asked Warren why she's choosing not to point out the differences between her and Sanders, and if it would benefit voters to know the contrast between them. 'I get out and talk about who I am and what I'm fighting for every day,' she said."

Sanders, meanwhile, went on the attack on candidates holding private fundraisers and not swearing off Super PAC support — in what could be interpreted as subtle digs at Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg. NBC's Gary Grumbach reports on Sanders' comments in Iowa: "I have friends, candidates for president who say, 'Yeah we got a Super PAC, some of the wealthiest people that are contributing to our Super PAC, it doesn't matter. I really don't pay attention to those people.' And we got other people running around the country going to wealthy peoples' homes and raising all kinds of money, with a hundred and two hundred thousand dollars, they say, 'Nah it doesn't matter. Those contributions don't impact me.' So I got a simple question: If these contributions don't impact you, why do you think the wealthiest people in America are contributing to you?" Sanders said. "They're making investments and that means they get access to the candidates and if those candidates win, to elected officials.

Data Download: The number of the day is … six



That's the number of staffers from Rep. Jeff Van Drew's office who are resigning amid reports that the Democratic congressman will be switching parties.

Van Drew, who represents a New Jersey district that backed Trump in 2016, is expected to leave the party because he opposes the impeachment of the president.

The staff members include Van Drew's legislative director, communications director and director of constituency relations.

The Lid: The Big Bang Theory

Don't miss the pod from Friday, when we looked at a theory about why the impeachment period has strengthened Joe Biden's standing - and weakened Elizabeth Warren's.

ICYMI: News clips you shouldn't miss

Chuck Schumer wants testimony from Mick Mulvaney and John Bolton.


Freshmen Democrats are interested in having former Republican Justin Amash serve as an impeachment manager.

Need a briefing on how exactly a Senate impeachment trial works?

Top Democratic candidates — led by Cory Booker — say that the debate qualification rules should be changed because candidates of color have struggled to meet them.

And here's how impeachment is playing out in Kent County, Mich., among a focus group of Republican respondents.

Trump Agenda: Withdrawal from Afghanistan

The Trump administration is set to announce the withdrawal of 4,000 troops from Afghanistan.


POLITICO looks at how Kevin McCarthy kept Republicans united on impeachment.

2020: Is it still all about the economy? Or has that changed?

Here's howDemocrats are hoping to counter Trump's efforts to campaign on the roaring economy.

TheNew York Times writes thatElizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have a problem — each other.

Michael Bennet says Biden and Buttigieg stole his health care plan.


Birmingham's mayor is backingJoe Biden.

Bernie Sanders is making a pitchfor minor league baseball players.

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