Quite the difference between this new CBS/YouGov poll and public opinion during Donald Trump’s previous impeachment process. A year ago, Trump sailed to record high approval ratings while Congress stretched Ukraine-Gate to force Trump into a Senate trial. By the time it was over, Americans backed an acquittal, and Democrats were left with egg on their faces.
After watching a mob of rioters march from a Trump rally to Capitol Hill and force Congress to flee, it seems American voters are taking this one a little more seriously:
More immediately, a majority of Americans feel President Trump should be impeached now, as the House prepares to take up the matter.
Democrats and independents are largely in favor of this — they feel impeachment would, among other things, “help prevent Donald Trump from running for president again,” “send a signal that his behavior was wrong,” and “show the world that democracy will defend itself,” but they also think it could cause his supporters to protest more. They find agreement on this from 15% of Republicans, while 85% of Republicans oppose impeachment and are more likely to feel that it would create more division in the country. …
For most Americans (59%) and particularly Democrats and most independents, what happened is described as insurrection, and an attempt to overthrow the government. Republicans — while disapproving of it — are more apt to describe the events as a “protest that went too far” but fewer — a third — call it an insurrection.
Given the polling on the description of the riot, it’s a bit remarkable that support for impeachment is only 55%. Here are the topline results on how Americans overall view what took place on January 6:
- Insurrection: 59/41
- Patriotism: 24/76
- Trying to overthrow the US government: 58/42
- Trying to overturn the election and keep Donald Trump in power: 73/27
- Defending freedom: 26/74
- A protest that went too far: 76/24
You can guess which way the overwhelming majority of Democrats responded to these questions, but let’s take a look at independents. Fifty-seven percent called it an insurrection, 58% an attempted overthrow of the government, and 72% an attempt to keep Trump in power. If nothing else, that’s a yuuuuuge political problem for Republicans moving forward after this, unless they have come up with a magic plan to win elections without independents.
Oh, and worth noting: 56% of Republicans viewed this as an attempt to overturn the election too. Only 51% of Republicans strongly disapproved of it, compared to 69% of independents and 88% of independents. That’s, um … interesting.
If 73% saw this as a coup to benefit Trump, why are only 55% supporting impeachment? The likelihood of further violence is probably one factor. Eighty-three percent of all respondents expect more protests in and after an impeachment, which raises the possibility of more conflict. That’s certainly a consideration, especially given the very short period of time Trump has left in office anyway. However, 57% also think an impeachment (and presumably a quick removal) would “show the world that democracy will defend itself,” and 68% believe it will keep Trump from running for president in 2024.
Interestingly, only 44% want Trump to finish out the week he has left at all. The other 55% — presumably the same 55% that favor impeachment — are split between removal by Congress (39%) and resignation (16%). Eighty-four percent of Republicans want him to stick it out, with the rest more or less evenly split between the other two options (7% and 9%, respectively).
Of course, this is only one poll. I’d love to see a full range of polling on these points, but it doesn’t look like we’ll get the time for it:
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters late last night that the article won’t be held back by the House and the “presumption is within a very short time” it will be transmitted to the Senate.
Asked if the House would hold back the articles, Hoyer said: “No
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) January 13, 2021
We’ll have more on this later in the morning. This has come up fast enough that most pollsters might not get a good survey done before the question comes up today in the House, and potentially as soon as the end of the week in the Senate, if Mitch McConnell agrees to Chuck Schumer’s request for an emergency session. We’ll get plenty of these polls in the weeks ahead, and maybe for months to come. Don’t expect this insurrection to dissipate like Ukraine-Gate did.