Obama's impeachment, how many people really want this?
April showers bring May flowers, but not for the Obama administration. Republicans across the country are calling for the president's head after his administration was rocked by several high-profile scandals. But how many Americans really want to see their commander-in-chief removed for “high crimes and misdemeanors?” The answer may surprise you.
What History Tells Us About Impeachment
A U.S. President has never been impeached and removed from office (Nixon likely would have been, but he stepped down before official proceedings could begin). Millennials will of course remember the trial of William J. Clinton, but that farce was brought to an end by a Senate acquittal. Nonetheless, the two events serve as bookmarks in public opinion – how supportive were the American people of impeachment? In Nixon’s case, very. One NBC/Associated Press poll conducted in August 1978 found 72% of respondents believed Nixon had committed an impeachable offense during the Watergate affair. During the height of the Lewinsky scandal, though, only one-third of America supported impeachment proceedings against Clinton (though this fraction increased as it became clear he would not be removed from office, thus the impeachment served as a reprimand, not an ejection).
Democrats also mulled impeaching George W. Bush. Again, public support was lacking. Only 36% believed the warrantless-wiretapping scandal of his second term warranted removal from office; in August 2007, 43% favored impeachment strongly or somewhat, but the majority (52%) still opposed any trials. If the public didn’t support impeaching Bush at the height of his unpopularity, can many favor removing Obama from office?
Republicans believe the answer is “yes.” Though they’ve been clamoring for impeachment since the Benghazi affair, reports that the Justice Department may have illegally seized phone records of journalists, and the ongoing investigation into the IRS’s alleged targeting of conservative groups have given the GOP more scandals than they know what to do with.
The Obama Administration's No-Good-Very-Bad Month
To be fair, the Republicans have claimed everything from Obama’s executive orders on gun violence to the Affordable Care Act justify removal from office. Americans are split on whether the current hysteria is legitimate — on Benghazi, 44% say the GOP’s concerns are fair, while 45% view the hearings as “political posturing.” As the Washington Post points out, those numbers are highly correlated to party identification. A further 55%, including Democrats and independents, believe the Obama administration is covering up pertinent facts. The Justice Department scandal has had less effect, with 52% believing the record seizures were justified. IRS-gate cuts across party lines, with majorities among Democrats, Republicans, and independents strongly disapproving of the activities in Cincinnati.
Interestingly, these numbers have not had an adverse effect on Obama’s public support. The same Washington Post/ABC News poll finds the president’s rating holding steady at 51% positive.
That’s important. It means that despite weeks of conservative hand-wringing and threats, the American public’s opinions on these scandals aren’t translating into disapproval of the president. Which means Republicans may have a hard time gathering the support they need to oust Obama.
Public Opinion to Republicans: "Not So Fast."
Current polling on whether Americans support impeachment is unreliable, at best. As Huffington Post pollster Emily Swanson points out, polling on this topic is difficult, since results are highly susceptible to variation depending on contact method and word choice. For example, a survey experiment conducted among a representative sample found that support for impeachment varied by nine points, depending on how the question was phrased. Further, opposition ranged from half to two-thirds of respondents, including almost 40% of Republicans. These numbers are fascinating: Even though a plurality of Republicans believes Obama was not born in the U.S. and virtually all of them rate him unfavorably, only 51% to 66% of the rank-and-file conservatives support impeachment proceedings.
These results indicate two important realities. First, Americans recognize that impeachment is an incredibly drastic action to take against a sitting president. Second, the GOP may be betting on the wrong horse.
When Speaker Gingrich and the House Republicans went after Bill Clinton, they didn’t just fail at impeachment. They lost five seats to the Democrats in the 1998 midterms, Gingrich resigned in embarrassment, and they damaged their brand, with almost 60% of the country disapproving of their party. They seem poised to repeat these mistakes, with members of Congress chomping at the bit to begin proceedings.
Given the fervent desire of the House delegation to remove Obama, perhaps the question isn’t “If?” but “When?” But Democrats need not panic quite yet, as the GOP does not control the Senate (and in my opinion, they don’t have the numbers to pull out a win in 2014). That renders any impeachment proceedings effectively neutered. But Philadelphia Post’s Joel Mathis makes a cogent point about the end results of such a maneuver: “if Republicans decide to impeach a Democratic president again … well, Democrats are probably going to take it personally. They’ll make an entirely rational political decision that there’s no reason not to obstruct, harass, and yes, impeach every Republican every chance they get … Why show restraint if Republicans won’t?” Indeed, one wonders if we would ever see the end of congressional gridlock if every incoming president has to defend against impeachment trials.
Whether the GOP decides to go down that road has yet to be seen (particularly with several high-profile members refusing to support such actions). But polling and history reveal a clear picture: Republicans beware.
As you can see from the information above, impeachment of Obama is strictly a numbers game for Congress. They are waiting for US citizens opinions to raise higher in these impeachment polls and voting base to take the Senate in 2014. Without the high public opinion for impeachment they will not act, however, we also need to work on getting the conservative voting base, Christian voting base and Black voting base out to the polls in 2014 in favor of our candidates, so conservatives can maintain the House and take control of the Senate, before we will see an impeachment of Barack Obama and his administration. From August 2013, we will have 15 months to raise public opinion and build the voting base needed to win the 2014 election. The only option we have for impeachment sooner, is if more Whistleblowers come forward with incriminating evidence. This is not looking good with the way Obama administration is going after the Whistleblowers. There maybe one chance, if Congress does promise Lois Lerner from the IRS, they will take no criminal action against her for her testimony. This, of course, is not what most of us want to see happen, she deserves to be prosecuted, but if her testimony has enough evidence to impeach Obama, she gets my "yes" vote. I believe, if she does testify against Obama, others will follow, if they receive the same deal from Congress. I feel sure her testimony will not only take out Obama, but will also take out some Democrat Senators, which would be a true plus for America.
We also need to vote out some Republican Senators while we working on this. We know who they are and that they work against us on almost every issue put before the Senate. I am at a loss to understand how they can work against their own base, only reason I can see that would benefit them to turn traitor to their party, is money. There must be personal monetary gain, as well as, monetary gain for their state to cause them to become such low life's, therefore they must go in 2014 also.
Please click the link below, take the poll and put some time into finding a local group to join and work with them to support the best candidate to represent your state in Congress.
Time to Impeach Obama?
Do You Trust Obama?