(CN) – Most Americans support Congress’ impeachment inquiry, according to the latest polls, though the public is more hesitant to go through with impeaching President Donald Trump in the wake of complaints he abused his powers.
One poll, conducted by YouGov, showed that 55% of respondents support impeachment if the inquiry establishes the fact that Trump withheld funds from Ukraine unless its leaders agreed to investigate his political rival, Democrat Joe Biden.
The truly bad news in the poll is that only 26% of respondents said they oppose impeachment should the quid pro quo relationship be corroborated during the course of the inquiry.
Furthermore, only 22% of Republicans said they would strongly support impeachment if Trump used military aid to incentivize Ukraine to investigate the Democratic front-runner for president.
Most independents supported impeachment in the scenario.
Among all adults polled, 19% said they didn’t know yet – demonstrating the evolving nature of the political crisis that threatens Trump’s presidency right as he ratchets up his re-election bid.
A separate poll conducted by Survey Monkey found similar trends, with 53% of Americans supporting the inquiry but only 45% in favor of impeachment.
The poll also found a majority of Americans say the inquiry will hurt Democrats in the upcoming 2020 election, with 19% saying impeachment is the right thing to do but will come at a political cost and 37% saying it is the wrong thing to do and will come with negative electoral consequences for Democrats.
Yet another poll – this one conducted by NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Polls – found the public more evenly split on the matter of impeachment, with 49% of respondents saying they were in favor of an inquiry and 46% saying they disapproved.
Independents are particularly split on whether the inquiry is a good idea, whether impeachment is worth it if the Senate remains opposed and whether impeachment proceedings would be good for the country.
Taken together, the polls show Democrats have more work to do to convince the county that the president’s actions rise to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors” and warrants impeachment.
But the polls are also bad news for Trump and his supporters, as impeachment related to the Russia collusion investigation was broadly unpopular despite regular calls from a segment of the Democratic caucus to bring articles of impeachment.
But the Ukraine matter is clearly different. Trump is a sitting president, not a candidate, and a broad swath of the American public clearly take a dim view of the head of the executive branch using the office’s power for personal political gain, as a whistleblower’s complaint alleges.
Notably, all or a portion of the polls were conducted before the public testimony of the acting chief of national intelligence Joseph Maguire.
Expect more hearings, news reports and investigations into whether Trump explicitly tied military aid to investigations into his political rivals that could cause a considerable fluctuation in the poll numbers.
In the meantime, the polls indicate Democrats must continue to make a case but will be doing so to a public that is clearly more receptive to the idea of impeachment than at any previous point in the Trump presidency.