America backs impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump, new polls suggest

Rozina Sabur
Donald Trump has labelled the inquiry a

The majority of Americans back an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, according to new polling. 

At least four polls have been taken since Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, announced the chamber would begin a formal investigation into the US president. 

Three of the surveys show clear support for impeachment, while a fourth is tied. 

A Huffington Post poll of 1,000 US citizens found that 47 per cent believed that Mr Trump should be impeached and removed from office, while 39 per cent did not.

A poll by Business Insider garnered similar results, with 45 per cent of respondents saying they supported impeachment, including 29 per cent who said they were "strongly" in favour of the move. Meanwhile 30 per cent said they opposed impeachment, with 20 per cent of respondents saying they "strongly" opposed it. There were 1,096 respondents in total.

A new PBS/Marist poll published on Thursday found that 49 per cent of American adults now approved of a formal impeachment inquiry, with 46 per cent disapproving and 5 per cent unsure. This compared to a similar poll in May, in the aftermath of a report into the Russia investigation, which found that 53 per cent said they did not want Mr Trump to be impeached. The NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll was conducted by telephone on Wednesday and talked to 864 adults.  

However a survey by Politico/Morning Consult suggests America remains deeply divided on the issue. The website's poll of 1640 registered voters found they were equally split on the question of whether Congress should begin impeachment proceedings, with 43 per cent agreeing and 43 per cent disagreeing. Another 13 per cent said they were unsure.

Mrs Pelosi triggered the impeachment proceedings on Tuesday after allegations emerged that Mr Trump had pushed the Ukrainian president to dig up dirt on his Democratic rival. 

A transcript of the phone call released by the White House showed that Mr Trump had privately asked his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to "look into"Joe Biden.

The scandal was prompted by a whistleblower who lodged a complaint accusing Mr Trump of “using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 US election.” Mr Trump has denied any wrongdoing.

For much of the last two years polls have shown the majority of the country is broadly against impeachment despite an ongoing investigation into potential Russian collusion, but public sentiment appears to have shifted in this latest round of surveys. 

Politico said its new poll, which began on Tuesday night after Mrs Pelosi's announcement, represented a seven-point jump in support for impeachment compared to a previous poll last week. In that survey, only 36 percent of voters supported starting impeachment proceedings, with 49 percent against the idea.

It is unclear whether the shift is due to the intense media coverage of the week's events or whether it reflects a fundamental shift in public mood. 

There are signs it may be more than just a temporary fluctuation. One of the country’s most trusted pollsters, Quinnipac, conducted a poll before this week's drama and found a five-point increase in support for launching impeachment proceedings compared to a July survey.

Meanwhile a YouGov/Economist poll released on Wednesday found that 52 per cent of Americans believe it is inappropriate for the president to request a foreign government open an investigation into a potential political opponent. Some 22 per cent said it was appropriate, and 26 per cent said they were unsure.

The chances of Mr Trump being removed from office still remain very slim. Impeachment proceedings begin in the House of Representatives but must pass the Senate by a two-thirds majority to carry. 

This poses a difficult scenario for Republican senators, who hold a majority of 53 to the Democrats 47 senate seats, as they head into an election year. 

According to one former Republican senator, Jeff Flake, at least 35 of his former peers would vote to impeach Mr Trump were the vote held in private. Mr Flake, who has made no secret of his dislike of the president, reportedly told a conference many Republicans privately back impeachment. 

A handful of Republican senators have publicly censured the president's actions, including vocal Trump critic Mitt Romney, who called the situation "deeply troubling".

Significantly, his comments were echoed by Ben Sasse, a senator who has been guarded in his comments since he sought Mr Trump's endorsement for his 2020 re-election campaign. Another Republican, senator Ron Johnson, also said he was concerned by the allegation that White House officials had attempted to restrict access to the transcript of Mr Trump’s Ukraine call. 

But whatever suggestion of discord between the president and his party, most Republicans have remained tight-lipped on the Ukraine scandal, aware that support for the president in their home states remains strong.