The fall in support for impeachment in the polls is putting more pressure on Democrats to strike a deal on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
House Democrats have worked to prove that impeachment is not getting in the way of legislative progress, but this is a point Republicans have repeatedly pressed.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has insisted for months that House Democrats were making an effort to get consensus on President Trump’s signature trade deal, which would update the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
The speaker has also maintained that impeachment would not affect USMCA talks or vice versa and that the tracks are totally separate.
“They have nothing to do with each other,” she said as the impeachment process began.
Now the presidential election is less than a year away, and the political implications of the impeachment process are at the forefront of the Democrats’ thought process. Progress on a popular bipartisan issue could help bring in moderate voters.
“Polling always affects the politics,” said Democratic strategist Tim Lim, a partner at NEWCO Strategies.
Impeachment polling has revealed that a majority of respondents support the process, but support has dropped from key groups of independents as public hearings got underway. An Emerson poll in November found 43 percent of voters overall supporting impeachment compared with 45 percent opposed. That indicates a 6-point change from the poll’s survey in October.
If that kind of swing continues as the inquiry heads to the House Judiciary Committee this week, Democrats could become more intent on getting a major bipartisan accomplishment.
Republicans have repeatedly accused Democrats of playing politics with the USMCA, especially in the face of impeachment.
“House Democrats are continuing their three-year-long quest to impeach the president and continuing to obstruct urgent bipartisan legislation,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) warned Tuesday. He specifically mentioned the trade deal.
Pelosi, he said, “keeps offering the same empty rhetoric that’s no different than what she was saying 10 months ago.”