What’s more, polling from those past impeachments is out of whack with the moment. Trump is viewed with as much disapproval as Richard M. Nixon saw, when only 19 percent of the country thought he should be impeached, but support for impeaching Trump is equivalent to what Nixon saw when he was mired at 25 percent approval.
It is with that in mind that we share news of two new polls on impeachment, one from Quinnipiac University and another from CNN and its polling partners at SSRS. In both polls, support for impeachment increased since the most recent survey in which the pollsters asked about the possibility.
In Quinnipiac’s poll, support for impeaching Trump — and, important, removing him from office — climbed 10 points in the past week. It was a 20-point swing overall, with support for impeachment increasing 10 points and opposition to it falling 10 points.
The biggest change was among Democrats and the smallest among Republicans. There was also a 23-point swing among white respondents with college degrees.
In CNN’s poll, a few things were different. The first is that the most recent poll was in May, not last week. The other is that the biggest party shift was among Republicans, who are now a net 21 points more likely to back impeachment and removal than they were in May. The difference between the two polls in how Republicans and Democrats moved probably lies in the different time scales: The party dynamics from late May are different than from mid-September.
In both polls, support for impeachment and removal is essentially evenly split, with about as many respondents supporting as opposing the idea.
It’s worth picking out one bit of data in particular: In CNN’s new poll, 14 percent of Republicans think Trump should be impeached and removed from office.
That figure mirrors another question in Quinnipiac’s poll. The pollster asked respondents whether “asking a foreign leader for help in defeating an opponent in an upcoming election” — as Trump did, indirectly, in his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in July — “is or is not a good enough reason to impeach a president and remove them from office?”
Most respondents said that was a good enough reason, including 17 percent of Republicans.
One particularly interesting part of Quinnipiac’s survey is that it asked respondents about impeachment and removal as well as about a less severe impeachment inquiry, along the lines of what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced last week.
Across the board, support for an inquiry was only slightly higher than support for straight-up impeachment and removal.
On the one hand, that suggests that those who support an inquiry are almost all people who think Trump should be removed from office. On the other, though, it also suggests that those who oppose removing Trump from office aren’t even interested in investigating the Ukraine issue.
That’s probably partly a function of the fact that people tend to see the impeachment push as a partisan issue. Most respondents told Quinnipiac they believed the impeachment push that is underway was more a function of partisan politics than the facts of the case.
In CNN’s poll, the numbers were slightly more optimistic for Democrats, with about half of respondents saying they thought the party actually believed that Trump had committed impeachable offenses — about 10 percentage points more than the group that thought Democrats were just out to get Trump. About as many respondents said they thought Republicans were out to protect Trump at any cost as said they believed Republicans actually believed that Trump hadn’t committed impeachable offenses.
We’ll add another overarching caveat here: Even in the context of this moment, setting aside any historical comparisons, it’s worth looking at all this with a few grains of salt. Things are evolving rapidly; there were multiple news developments on this subject as this article was being written. Analysis at FiveThirtyEight also reminds us that big, dramatic news developments can, at least temporarily, break polling.
Stay tuned. We’re writing the history books on this one as we go.