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Poll: The majority of Americans now support impeachment

Support for impeachment has been on the rise since the release of the Ukraine whistleblower’s complaint.

New Yorkers hoist handmade signs; the largest is red and black, and says “impeach” five times.
Protesters call for President Donald Trump to be impeached in New York City in June 2019.
Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket/Getty Images
Sean Collins is a news editor with Vox’s politics and policy team. He’s helped cover elections, Congress, and both the Biden and Trump administrations. Previously, Sean was Vox’s weekend editor.

Support for impeachment is increasing — so much so that a majority of Americans now support it, according to a new poll this week. And that result — from Civiqs — isn’t an outlier.

It’s bolstered by new Washington Post-Schar School and Quinnipiac University surveys that found the majority of Americans are for an impeachment inquiry, and a Politico/Morning Consult poll that found exactly half of Americans are.

And these results are further bolstered by a FiveThirtyEight meta-analysis that found support for impeachment jumped up markedly following the launch of that inquiry in late September. Democrats launched their inquiry after news broke about a whistleblower report alleging misconduct on a July phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Using a model based on a number of polls, FiveThirtyEight found 48.8 percent of Americans support impeachment, as of Wednesday. And through online polling, Civiqs found 51 percent of Americans support impeachment. Using online interviews, Politico/Morning Consult had a similar result, with 50 percent of respondents backing impeachment. Quinnipiac asked respondents a slightly different question, whether Trump should be impeached and removed from office, and found most oppose that course of action, although by a slim margin: 49 percent against and 45 percent for.

The takeaways are clear: support for impeachment writ large is growing, but more Americans are interested in proceedings in the House of Representatives than in actually removing Trump from office right now.

It is notable that all of these findings take Democrats, independents, and Republicans into account, and that in most, the number of pro-impeachment Americans has spiked since late September: Impeachment support in FiveThirtyEight’s calculation rose by about 10 percentage points, in the Civiqs poll by about 6 percentage points, by 7 percentage points in Politico/Morning Consult’s survey, and by 8 percentage points in Quinnipiac’s poll.

All of the studies also found the vast majority of Democrats now support impeachment; FiveThirtyEight puts the number at 82.8 percent, while Civiqs and Politico/Morning Consult found it to be a startling 88 percent. And in Quinnipiac’s poll, 85 percent of Democrats wanted to see Trump impeached and removed from the White House.

Independent support was rather strong as well, hovering between 43 and 48 percent, depending on the poll. In most of those surveys, the number of independents against impeachment trailed a couple percentage points behind.

Unsurprisingly, few Republicans were found to currently be behind impeachment: about 14 percent with the FiveThirtyEight numbers, 8 percent at Civiqs, 12 percent at Politico/Morning Consult, and 6 percent (again, asking if Trump should be completely removed) with Quinnipiac. Despite this low support among Republicans, FiveThirtyEight found support for impeachment is nevertheless rising among that group too — it stayed between 8 and 12 percent all year until the end of September before increasing.

None of this is a guarantee of continued support — as HuffPost’s Ariel Edwards-Levy notes, polling on impeachment has seen wide variability based on how questions are written, and it’s hard to say how voters will react to an ongoing investigation. But polls released in the first weeks following the release of the whistleblower’s report indicate that support for impeachment seems to be growing.

The latest data suggests launching an impeachment inquiry was a good idea

These trends are in line with polls taken at the end of September, all of which showed support for impeachment averaging near 50 percent, and growing.

All of this seems to suggest recent revelations about Trump’s conduct with Ukraine have energized Democrats, and changed the thinking of some independents (and a few Republicans) on impeachment. It remains to be seen whether these changes will stick.

Even if they do, it’s unclear whether growing support will change lawmakers’ stance on the issue of impeachment, at least among Republicans. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly used polls to sway members of her caucus unsure about the impeachment inquiry, but just one House GOP member, Rep. Mark Amodei, currently supports some sort of investigation (and Amodei has been clear he does not back impeachment). And the shifts among Republican voters in these latest polls are far from dramatic enough to make GOP lawmakers change their stances.

Regardless of how Republicans feel about it, an impeachment inquiry is now underway. Most Democrats in the House now support an impeachment inquiry, but backing that is not the same as a vote for articles of impeachment. Indeed, some of those the Post-Schar poll asked who support the inquiry (11 percent) said they do not want to see the House actually impeach Trump, and support for Trump’s complete removal was lower in the Quinnipiac poll than support for impeachment in other surveys.

Overall, though, Pelosi has 58 percent of voters who support her caucus’s inquiry — and 86 percent of those people want the House to vote to remove Trump from office. That, plus the spike of pro-impeachment support in early polls, seem to support her position — and possibly, her decision to wait for a relatively straightforward scandal that happened while Trump was in office.

According to FiveThirtyEight’s calculations, Democrats have backed impeachment throughout the Trump administration, ranging from around 63 percent to around 74 percent — and some among the base have pushed for impeachment inquiries over Mueller’s findings and Trump’s sexual misconduct allegations.

Pelosi had pushed back against those in her caucus who wanted to move faster with an impeachment inquiry — until the Ukraine scandal hit, when she told the public: “The times have found us today.”

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