A solid 43% of Americans say the House of Representatives “should open an impeachment inquiry” to determine whether President Donald Trump should be removed from office, according to Civiqs polling released this week. The level of support tracks closely with a CNN poll released last week showing 41% support for Trump’s impeachment and removal from office.
The polls also found similar support across partisan lines, with 77% of Democrats supporting the inquiry in Civiqs’ survey (CNN: 76%) along with 41% of independents (CNN: 35%). Both of these polls were conducted before Trump told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that he would happily accept help from a foreign government to get reelected—the type of foreign influence that is both statutorily prohibited and something the founders feared greatly.
It’s worth noting what a solid starting point over 40% for launching impeachment hearings is. When the Senate first launched the Watergate hearings in 1973, support stood at just 19%. In mid-July 1974, just weeks before the House Judiciary Committee approved an article of impeachment for President Richard Nixon, only 46% said Nixon’s actions were “serious enough to warrant being removed from office.” By early August, support for Nixon’s removal had spiked to 58%, likely driven by both the Judiciary panel’s vote and a Supreme Court ruling forcing Nixon to release the infamous “smoking gun” tape.
Also worth considering is the fact that Trump’s job approval ratings have never really exceeded 45% in any reputable poll. In fact, he’s perpetually stuck somewhere between 39%-43% approval. Nixon, by comparison, entered his second term at a soaring 67% following his reelection in November 1972.
Trump is vulnerable. What the American people need is leadership born of conviction. The message the public is receiving from Democrats right now is a muddled mess, while Trump and his allies crow repeatedly that he has been exonerated. Even in that vacuum of any clear articulation from Democrats, more than 40% of voters say either that Congress should begin impeachment proceedings or that Trump should be removed from office.
Public opinion should not be driving lawmakers’ decisions to live up to their oaths of office. But since it is apparently a driving force among House leadership, Democrats should be buoyed by their starting point rather than chilled by it.