A new Fox News poll released today found that a majority of registered voters now support impeachment and removal of President Trump. When voters who support impeachment but oppose removal are considered, voters favor impeachment by a double-digit margin.
The poll found that a total of 50 percent of voters want to see Trump impeached and removed. An additional four percent of voters wanted Trump impeached but opposed removal. Forty-one percent of voters opposed impeachment.
In comparison, public support for the impeachment of Richard Nixon hovered in the high 40s throughout the spring and early summer of 1974. Support for Nixon’s impeachment rose dramatically in late July after the Supreme Court ruled that Nixon had to turn over his secret tapes, reaching 57 percent by the time he resigned on August 8. In the case of Bill Clinton, a CBS News poll from December 1998 found that 60 percent opposed the House impeachment vote and 68 percent opposed Clinton’s removal. Approval for Trump's impeachment more closely resembles that of Nixon than Clinton.
As one would expect, there is a stark partisan divide on the impeachment question. Ninety percent of Democrats favor impeachment while 81 percent of Republicans oppose it. Fifty percent of independents want Trump impeached with only 40 percent opposed.
While one individual poll is possibly an outlier that is not a true representation of public opinion, there are now several months of data from polling on the impeachment question. A FiveThirtyEight average of polls shows that the average of recent polls is within the margin of error of the Fox poll. Respondents favor impeachment and removal by an average of 47.8-45.9 percent. Americans support the impeachment inquiry by an average of 52.3-41.9 percent.
Respondents in the Fox poll also believed that Democrats were running the impeachment inquiry fairly by a slim 45-42 margin. Voters were more convinced that President Trump was obstructing the inquiry. Fifty-two percent thought that Trump was not being “cooperative enough” with the inquiry compared with 36 percent who approved of Trump’s strategy of stonewalling.
With respect to the upcoming election, voters were split on how an impeachment vote would affect their preference for a congressional candidate. Thirty-eight percent said that voting for impeachment would make them more likely to vote for a candidate compared with 36 percent who would be less likely to support a candidate who voted for impeachment. Twenty-five percent said it would make no difference or didn’t know how it would affect their vote.
The poll also showed that Republican talking points are not resonating with voters. Only 37 percent were extremely or very interested in the allegations about Joe and Hunter Biden compared with 54 percent who only somewhat or not-at-all interested. Those numbers have barely changed since October.
The Fox poll also had bad news for Republicans on the policy front. The poll found that many Democratic policies are popular among voters. Sixty-eight percent favor a two-percent wealth tax on people with more than $50 million, 66 percent favor a public option to purchase Medicare, 63 percent favor marijuana legalization, and 53 percent want to keep Obamacare in place with only minor changes. The poll also showed that voters oppose the border wall by a 52-44 margin.
The best news for Republicans in the poll is that Americans reject Democrat calls for Medicare-for-all. Fifty-three percent oppose abolishing private health insurance while only 41 percent support the idea.
The Fox poll confirms that Americans are closely divided on the question of impeachment. While public opinion is against Trump, it is not strong enough to persuade Republicans to break ranks with the president. Nevertheless, polling data does not support the Republican notion that Democrats will pay a price next November for going through with impeachment. Republican defenses of Trump are falling flat outside the party faithful.
If Democrats delayed impeachment and continued to pursue the investigation, they might build public support for impeaching and removing the president in a scenario that followed the Nixon model. The conundrum for Democrats is that 1974 was a midterm election year while the clock is currently counting down to a presidential election. The longer Democrats wait, the more powerful the argument to let the voters decide will become.
Originally published on The Resurgent