It’s as simple as that. Impeachment is a political decision, and there is no sign at this point that there’s a political reward for most Republicans in taking on Trump. Members of Congress represent their constituencies, but they also keep one eye trained on how their political base is doing. As long as Republican voters are happy with Trump, Republican members of Congress will be, too.
There is a very important qualifier to the preceding paragraph: “at this point.” As time goes on, how Republican voters (and therefore Republican members of Congress) view Trump may change. They may grow more fond of him; their opinions may grow more negative. There may also come a time when Trump’s unpopular enough with non-Republicans that Republicans who may face close races in 2018 will grow more and more likely to defect from his team. It’s anyone’s guess how the next few months will unfold.
With that in mind, we put together an index that incorporates key metrics which can offer insight into how much of a risk of impeachment Trump faces. The higher Trump’s impeachment index score, the more the political risk is growing.
Every six hours, the tool loads the current data. Here’s what’s included:
- PredictIt market data. (Low importance.) The website PredictIt allows users to buy shares in the likelihood of an event happening. If people start buying more shares of Trump being impeached by the end of 2018, they think that’s more likely to happen — and our index moves up.
- Trump job approval data. (High importance.) The RealClearPolitics average of Trump’s job approval rating.
- The generic congressional ballot. (High importance.) The RealClearPolitics average of recent polling on the generic congressional ballot — which is to say, how likely Americans are to say they plan to vote for a Democrat or Republican next year.
- “Wrong track” polling. (Low importance.) The RealClearPolitics average of recent polling on whether people think America is headed in the right direction or on the wrong track.
Granted, the index takes a quantitative approach to a subjective thing — whether Republicans in Congress are nervous enough about Trump and whether there’s enough evidence to impeach him. As the investigation into Trump’s campaign and his behavior in office expands, though, and as polling continues to shift away from Trump, these are data points that will be worth tracking.
As of writing, the Index is probably right: The odds that Trump is ousted remain low.
As of writing.