CNN's Chris Cillizza Blames Thanksgiving, Christmas For Bad Impeachment Polls

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With the public testimony portion of the House impeachment proceedings concluded, Democrats have discovered they have a problem: the public hearings did nothing to increase support for impeachment. On Tuesday's CNN Newsroom, CNN politics reporter Chris Cillizza joined co-host Jim Sciutto to ponder why this is and concluded that it isn't because the lack of overwhelming evidence or goal post-shifting, but rather due to the fact that the holiday season is upon us.

Before introducing Cillizza, Sciutto read off the details of CNN's latest polling, "CNN’s new polling finds fifty percent of Americans say the president should be impeached and removed from office. However, that number is the same as in October before those public hearings began."

 

 

Cillizza declared that Democrats could not be happier with the result of the hearings, "They would say 'not in our wildest dreams did we think Gordon Sondland, for example, would say, yes, there was a quid pro quo.' That those hearings went better than they could have imagined."

Trying to find a rationale for why the polling data does not match with that assessment of the hearings, Cillizza theorized that despite non-stop media attention and almost universal media praise for the witnesses, people just aren't paying attention and cautioned Sciutto and viewers against reading too much into the polls and, "that we, people like you and I are following this extremely closely. The average person is gearing up for Thanksgiving, looking ahead to Christmas." He said that time would be necessary to see any change in the numbers, "it's possible that this will take a little bit longer to seep into the body politic, the average voter and then let’s give it two, three, four weeks and see where we're at."

Sciutto, despite his own feelings about Trump, wasn't buying Cillizza's holiday excuse, "Well it though, because there's also signs out there that folks are running out of patience with some of the coverage." He then dug a little deeper into the data to show that support for independents has slightly decreased since October, "So I hear your point there, but we're also entering a period now where you may not get any new information. Unless the courts force key witnesses to testify."

Here is a transcript for the November 26 show: 

CNN

CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto

9:41 AM ET

JIM SCIUTTO: CNN’s new polling finds fifty percent of Americans say the president should be impeached and removed from office. However, that number is the same as in October before those public hearings began. With me now CNN politics reporter and editor at large Chris Cillizza. Chris, you know you look at these numbers and a lot of Democrats were placing a lot of faith in public hearings to move the dial, according to CNN’s poll they haven’t.

CHRIS CILLIZZA: Yeah and I’d say Jim, Democrats if you asked them, last Friday, did those hearings go how you wanted them to? They would say “not in our wildest dreams did we think Gordon Sondland, for example, would say, yes, there was a quid pro quo.” That those hearings went better than they could have imagined. So I would say Democrats would have been much happier if those numbers moved up five or ten points but would also caution that we, people like you and I are following this extremely closely. The average person is gearing up for Thanksgiving, looking ahead to Christmas and so I think there's an element to which we have to take a big cleansing breath and think to yourself, it's possible that this will take a little bit longer to seep into the body politic, the average voter and then let’s give it two, three, four weeks and see where we're at. 

SCIUTTO: Well it though, because there's also signs out there that folks are running out of patience with some of the coverage. Let's dig a little deeper on the numbers. Let’s look at independents and Republicans here, because independents, of course, key group here that their support for impeachment is down actually from October by three points. I mean again, within the margin of error, I don’t want to overstate it and we should note, among Republicans, up to 10%. Only 10% but, heck, 10% of Republicans think the president or Republicans should be impeached and removed from office. So I hear your point there, but we're also entering a period now where you may not get any new information. Unless the courts force key witnesses to testify. 

 

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