Number of Democrats Backing Impeachment Climbs, but Poll Shows Majority of Americans Oppose It
As more Democrats come out in support of impeachment of President Trump, a poll shows the majority of Americans oppose it.
A “clear majority” of 59 percent of Americans disagree that Trump should be impeached and compelled to leave the presidency, according to a Monmouth University Polling Institute poll released Thursday.
Meanwhile, just over a third — 35 percent — of Americans feel that Trump should be impeached and compelled to leave. That number is a low since Monmouth began asking the question in July 2017. The high was 42 percent in March 2019.
Furthermore, a majority of Americans say it is not a good idea for the House Judiciary Committee to conduct an impeachment inquiry — 51 percent. That is compared to the 41 percent who said it is a good idea.
After former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony last month to Congress fell flat, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) announced his committee was launching an investigation into whether the president obstructed justice and he should be impeached. Last week, he insisted on CNN that it was “formal impeachment proceedings.”
Since then, a steady trickle of Democrats have come out in favor of impeachment. Since Congress left for recess on July 26, 31 more Democrats have come out in favor of impeachment, bringing the total up to 131 Democrats. One Independent, Rep. Justin Amash (MI) backs impeachment, and zero Republicans. Dems need 86 more votes to reach a majority of 218 in the House.
The Monmouth poll also showed that most Democrats — 72 percent — feel it is a good idea to go down the path of impeachment, but only 39 percent of independents and 8 percent of Republicans agree.
Among those who say an impeachment inquiry is a bad idea, the top reasons include the belief that Trump has done nothing wrong, it would be a waste of time and money, the inquiry would be a partisan “witch hunt,” Trump has done a good job as president, and Congress should be working on other issues.
Those response differ depending on how they feel about the president. Those who approve of Trump cite that he has done nothing wrong and a waste of resources as the top two reasons. Those who oppose Trump but oppose impeachment cite waste of resources and it backfiring on Democrats as their top two reasons.
“Donald Trump is not a popular president by most measures, but the appetite for impeachment remains low,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
“There’s a small segment of the public who want Trump removed from office but feel the political calculus of an impeachment trial would not be the smartest move. They are outnumbered, though, by others who disapprove of Trump and feel that putting his misdeeds on the record is worth the effort even if the prospect of ousting him is doubtful,” he said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tried to stave off impeachment proceedings, wary of the impact it could have on Democrats in red states and aware of the impact it had on Republicans when they began impeachment proceedings against former President Bill Clinton.
However, the rising number of Democrats in the House who support it — now a majority of the caucus — places more pressure on her to do back impeachment.
On Wednesday, a coalition of progressive groups staged a rally in San Francisco urging her to schedule a vote for impeachment.
Murray said the Monmouth University poll findings underscore the dilemma Pelosi faces.
“Democratic House members who rely on an energized base for reelection can afford to be gung-ho on impeachment. Those who depend on the independent vote, which includes much of the 2018 freshman class, need to take a more cautious approach because the potential impact is uncertain,” he said.
The poll surveyed 800 adults in the U.S. via telephone from August 16-20, 2019, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.