BOSTON (CBS) — A new national poll shows the strongest public support so far for the impeachment probe into President Trump’s conduct.

Fifty-eight percent of those polled by the Washington Post approved of the House inquiry, with 38 percent disapproving.

Just a few weeks ago, impeachment polls found most Americans didn’t want any part of it. But in the two weeks since the Ukraine whistleblower story broke, there’s been an eyebrow-raising reversal.

What happened?

“I think it’s one phrase: ‘can you do me a favor though,'” says Congresswoman Katherine Clark of Melrose, telling WBZ news in an exclusive interview why she thinks polls that for months showed majority opposition to impeachment have now flipped to majority support for it. “People understand corruption, whether they’re in a red state or blue state, and that’s what is on display here — the president’s corruption in such a clear way as put forth in the whistleblower complaint.”

The Post poll, taken during a week of persistent pushback by the president and his allies against impeachment, suggests the counter-attack isn’t working too well, even among Republicans, whose support for Mr. Trump has regularly reached the 90 percent range.

“The people understand it’s a scam,” says the president. But in that new poll, 28% of Republicans approve of the impeachment inquiry.

Mr. Trump: “If you look at that call, it’s a perfect call. It’s congenial, there was no pressure.”

One-third of Republicans disagree, saying the president’s request of Ukraine was inappropriate.

“It’s just a scam,” the president insists. “This is a scam by the Democrats to try to win an election.”

But nearly four in ten Republicans disagree, saying the House is taking a necessary stand against his actions.

They were wary about impeachment’s political risks. But with numbers like that emerging, you can sense the budding confidence of Democratic leaders like Clark. “We’re really gonna let the facts set the timeline,” she told us.

Could this mess wind up overshadowing the Democratic primaries next year? If the polls keep heading this way, the Democrats should pray it does. The choice they’d prefer voters face in November 2020 isn’t so much Republican vs. Democrat as a referendum on the incumbent.

And the lower already-low voter esteem for him is by then, the better for Democrats.

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