Here’s what I predicted on Friday:
I haven’t seen any polls on impeachment lately, but I’d guess that impeachment supporters would start with something like 55-60 percent of the public opposed (all Democrats and a majority of indies) and 40 percent or so in favor (most Republicans).
In other words, 68 percent think Obama shouldn’t be impeached. Of that number, 56 percent — a clear majority — think he hasn’t done anything to deserve impeachment and another 12 percent think he has but that we should decline to do it anyway, presumably for the good of the country. Just six percent of Democrats think Obama should be removed from office versus 63 percent of Republicans. Indies are more narrowly split, of course, but even there, a large majority opposes impeachment. Fifty-two percent think Obama hasn’t committed impeachable offenses; another 14 percent think that he has but oppose impeachment anyway, for a grand total of 66 percent against. When you refine the impeachment question to ask whether there’s enough justification for Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against the president, the numbers look better but the balance of opinion is still on the other side. Indies split 37/37 but overall the public opposes the idea 35/44. See now why there’s so little appetite among pols, including and especially among Republican candidates for Senate, to back Palin up? Even among Republican voters, 36 percent oppose impeachment. How do you build political momentum for removing him when you’re starting in a hole that deep?
The silver lining is that a near-majority of the public does think Obama’s exceeded the limits of his authority as president, 49/34, including an eye-popping split among indies of 52/25. The next time you stumble across some lefty hack online guffawing that Republicans are hysterical in thinking that O’s crossed any sort of constitutional line, remember those numbers. Although I wonder: Realistically, in an age of deep partisan polarization, what’s the best a sixth-year president could hope for in this metric? If we elect Rand Paul in 2016 and he spends six years pushing the idea of “modest” executive power, he’s still going to have 80 percent of Democrats accusing him of having gone too far, no? I think O is, unquestionably, guiltier than many of his predecessors of impermissible power grabs, but that doesn’t mean I think the data here is being driven more by careful consideration of what he’s done than by party ID. It may be that way for his successors too, at least for awhile.
Via RCP, here’s Bill Kristol, who helped promote Palin inside the GOP prior to her being named to the ticket in 2008, and Ana Navarro, who served as a director of Hispanic outreach for the McCain 2008 campaign, agreeing that “responsible” Republican officials aren’t pushing impeachment. Harrumph.