Democrats’ desire to drive President Donald Trump from office is higher than it was to remove President Richard Nixon 45 years ago, according to a new poll that highlights the deep partisan divide over Democrats’ current impeachment attempt.
In an October poll of U.S. adults conducted by Gallup, 87 percent of Democrats surveyed said that — based on what is currently known — Donald Trump should be impeached and removed from office. This is compared to just 71 percent of Democrats who wanted to remove President Richard Nixon from office just days before his 1974 resignation.
The comparison also finds a much higher percentage of Republicans are now opposed to the removal of Donald Trump than were to Nixon’s: 92 percent of surveyed Republicans opposed Trump removal in October, versus 59 percent in 1974.
Richard Nixon was never formally impeached by the House of Representatives. The House Judiciary Committee recommended impeaching him on July 27, 1974, but he resigned before facing a formal House impeachment vote or subsequent Senate trial.
A Gallup article accompanying the recent survey results notes that the wide partisan divide in public opinion on removing Trump sets this impeachment episode apart from those of Nixon and former President Bill Clinton.
“Though Republicans did not favor removing Nixon from office, enough of them did that Republican members of Congress had more latitude to vote against the party majority on impeachment,” the article notes. “As far as Democrats are concerned, their steadfast opposition to Trump throughout his presidency suggests they are unlikely to revise their opinions as the impeachment process unfolds.”
The historic partisan divide shown in public opinion speaks to the uniquely partisan nature of the current impeachment probe that Trump’s allies have criticized from its beginning.
House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Doug Collins, R-Ga., called the current effort “the first partisan ‘impeachment’ in the history of the republic” after proceedings were announced in late September. LevinTV host Mark Levin has consistently referred to it as a “Democrat Party impeachment.” A recent ethics complaint lodged by dozens of Conservative groups accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of “using the impeachment process as a weapon of partisan political battle, rather than as the means to defend the Constitution our Framers meant it to be.”
Of course, since the drumbeat to impeach Trump started pounding so shortly after he was sworn into office in 2017, and the current effort piggybacks on years of previous attempts to undermine and delegitimize his presidency, it’s kind of hard to see how public opinion wouldn’t be so deeply split at this point.