The Corner

Elections

When They Say Public Opinion Is Evenly Split, They Mean It!

Right now on FiveThirtyEight’s aggregation of all public impeachment polls, 45.6 percent of Americans support Trump’s removal from office, and 45.5 percent oppose it. When broken down by party, the aggregator finds 80.3 percent of self-identified Democrats support removal, while just 41 percent of independents and 12 percent of Republicans.

Some will argue that public opinion shouldn’t matter on something like this; either the president broke the law and committed high crimes and misdemeanors or he didn’t, and if he did, he ought to be held accountable with the methods laid out under the Constitution. And certainly, support for impeachment never reached this level during Bill Clinton’s presidency: “Roughly three-in-ten or fewer Americans supported impeaching Clinton throughout autumn 1998 and even into mid-December, just before the House did so anyway. Only later in 1999, after Clinton had been acquitted, did retrospective support for impeaching him reach a high of 44 percent.”

Still, if you see Republicans staunchly opposing removal, or swing district and state Democrats starting to waver, it may well be because they thought public opinion would be more unified in support of removal by now.

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