Support for impeachment cools as Congress digs in for extended fight: Reuters/Ipsos poll

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Support for impeaching U.S. President Donald Trump cooled off this week, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, as the White House hunkered down for an extended fight over allegations that the administration pushed a foreign government to investigate one of Trump’s Democratic rivals.

The Oct. 14-15 opinion poll, released on Tuesday, found that 43% of adults in the U.S. believe that Trump “should be impeached,” down 2 points from a similar poll last week. Another 42% said he “should not be impeached” and 14% said they were not sure.

Americans had expressed stronger interest last month in sanctioning the president - and possibly removing him from office - through congressional impeachment after a government whistleblower revealed that Trump may have misused the power of his office to help his chances at winning re-election.

The whistleblower reported that Trump appeared to be pressuring Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in a July 25 phone call to pursue unsubstantiated allegations of corruption against former Vice President Joe Biden, an early favorite to win the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

It has leveled off since then, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling. Opinions are also sharply divided along party lines, and political scientists say they are likely to remain that way with only a handful of prominent Republican leaders publicly criticizing the president.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing, and he has tried to block administration officials from cooperating with the House of Representatives impeachment inquiry.

So far, the president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani appears to be following Trump’s orders, but several other administration officials have agreed to testify.

The poll also found that 40% of the public approved of Trump, while 54% disapproved.

And while 57% of Americans think Congress should investigate whether Trump committed impeachable offenses over the Ukraine call, a similar majority - 60% - believe Congress “should focus on fixing important problems facing Americans, rather than focusing on investigating President Trump.”

The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online, in English, throughout the United States. It included responses from 1,115 adults, and it has a credibility interval, a measure of the poll’s precision, of about 3 percentage points.

Reporting by Chris Kahn; Editing by Bill Berkrot