For the second time in his presidency, the House of Representatives is expected to indict President Trump – this time over his role in inciting a violent mob to attack the US Capitol last Wednesday. And public support for Trump’s impeachment could now be higher than it was during the previous impeachment trial.
So far, we’ve identified 13 poll questions (in nine discrete polls) that asked a version of a yes-or-no question about whether Trump should step down before his term expires. A weighted average of these surveys, taking into account their quality, timeliness and sample size, shows that 52 percent of Americans support Trump’s overthrow, while only 42 percent are against. In contrast, support for Trump’s impeachment over the Ukraine scandal last fall and winter on our impeachment poll tracker was constant at 47 or 48 percent. This isn’t a huge difference and it’s early days. We still haven’t received a lot of high quality surveys on this issue. But it is not Well News for Trump and the final days of his presidency.
As expected, the Democrats are most excited to see Trump’s term in office cut: 82 percent support them and only 13 percent oppose it. That’s roughly the proportion of Democrats who supported Trump’s ousting during his impeachment around this time last year. Notably, independents and Republicans now support Trump’s removal a little more than they did a year ago. Currently, 47 percent of Independents support Trump’s exit, up from 42 percent last year. And during the 2019-2020 impeachment, only about 8-10 percent of Republicans backed Trump’s removal. Currently, an average of 15 percent of Republicans support Trump’s early exit from office (80 percent are against).
It’s important to note that during our last impeachment, we found that the formulation of a survey survey, or the stage of the process it was asked about, can affect the number of respondents. For example, support for starting an impeachment investigation has consistently been slightly higher than support for actually impeaching or removing Trump. (To freshen up, the House of Representatives is suing the President – the political equivalent of indictment – by a simple majority and putting him before the Senate. A two-thirds vote in the Senate is required to convict the President; conviction would remove him from office.)
This time around, however, the vast majority of the polls suggest that the people who don’t want Trump in office don’t care much about how this is accomplished. So far, an average of 49 percent of Americans support Vice President Mike Pence and the cabinet removing Trump from office by invoking the 25th Amendment – which they can do by letting Congress know that the president is failing can – although so far we only have two surveys that ask this question. A similar 51 percent of Americans, based on five polls on average, said yes to more general polls on Trump’s removal that did not give the means for his departure. And an average of 53 percent supported four polls that mentioned impeachment. Finally the previous pollster (Quinnipiac), who asked if Trump should resign, found that 53 percent of Americans support the idea as well.
However, a few polls suggest that Americans might be most comfortable using the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office rather than leading him out of office some other way. (The 25th amendment might also be the safest choice politically – which could explain why the House is planning to vote on a resolution I urge Pence to refer to the 25th before the vote on impeachment proceedings.) To Ipsos / Reuters poll asked respondents which of four scenarios they preferred: 30 percent said Trump should “be removed from office immediately with the 25th change”; 14 percent said he should be “charged by Congress and removed from office”; and 13 percent said he should “step down from the presidency”. (The remaining 43 percent said he should serve the remainder of his term.) And a Consult tomorrow / Politico A poll also found that registered voters were slightly more open to removal over the 25th Amendment than to impeachment. Respondents supported invoking the 25th amendment with 49 to 37 percent, but agreed with 44 to 43 percent on whether Congress should “initiate impeachment proceedings to remove President Trump from office.”
At this point, it is unclear whether Trump will be removed from office, but it appears that public opinion is leaning towards his removal at this early stage. We’ll keep an eye on the polls to see how this changes, if at all, and whether public preferences converge on any particular method of removal.
Aaron Bycoffe and Mary Radcliffe contributed to the research.