Half of Americans say President Donald Trump should be impeached and removed from office, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS, a new high in CNN polling on the topic and the first time that support for impeachment and removal has significantly outpaced opposition.
As support for impeachment has inched upward, however, Trump’s approval ratings overall and for handling major issues have not taken a hit. Overall, 41% approve of his handling of the presidency and 57% disapprove, similar to his ratings in early September and August polls conducted before the House of Representatives formally launched an impeachment inquiry in late September.
The share who say Trump used his office improperly to gain political advantage against a potential 2020 opponent in his interactions with the President of Ukraine stands at 49%, about the same as in the September CNN poll. At the same time, more now say Trump did not use the presidency improperly (43%, up from 39%), as the share who are undecided on the question dipped. That shift was largely driven by a 16-point increase in the share of Republicans who say Trump didn’t improperly use the presidency (from 71% to 87%).
Overall, 50% say the things that Trump has said publicly about his handling of US relations with Ukraine are mostly false. Fewer, 44%, think the President is mostly telling the truth about it, with views sharply divided by party (86% of Republicans say his public statements on it have been mostly true, while 83% of Democrats say mostly false).
Support for impeachment and removal is strongest among Democrats (87% favor it) and stands at 50% among independents. Among Republicans, just 6% say they support impeaching and removing the Republican President, lower than the 14% who said so in a September CNN poll. While a handful of other polls also have found support for impeachment in double digits among Republicans, most have found Republican support closer to the level in the new CNN poll than the September one.
Beyond partisanship, demographic dividing lines on impeachment seem to mirror those that have driven Trump’s approval rating throughout his presidency. Women (56%) are more apt than men (44%) to favor impeachment and removal. Nonwhites (68%) support it in greater numbers than whites (40%), and whites are split by education (51% with college degrees back impeachment and removal vs. 35% of those without degrees) and further by gender (26% of white men without college degrees favor impeachment and removal, but that more than doubles to 54% among white women who hold four-year degrees).
The poll finds that Americans overall are entrenched in their views on each side of the impeachment debate. Among those who say Trump should be impeached and removed, 90% say they feel that way strongly, as do 86% of those who say he should not be impeached and removed.
Americans are more apt to disapprove than approve of the way that both parties in Congress, the White House and the State Department are handling the impeachment inquiry thus far.
Democrats in Congress fare best, with 43% approving and 49% disapproving. Disapproval outpaces approval of congressional Republicans’ handling of the impeachment inquiry by a nearly 2-to-1 margin: 57% disapprove and 30% approve. Republicans themselves are more positive toward their partisans in Congress – 52% approve and 32% disapprove of their handling of the inquiry, but Democrats express far stronger approval for their own congressional partisans (82% approve, 13% disapprove).
Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who announced the impeachment inquiry in late September, has seen an improvement in favorability numbers in the new poll. Her favorability rating stands at its best mark since April 2007, with 44% holding a favorable view of her, and 46% unfavorable. That increase rests mostly on a shift among independents since May – 32% had a favorable view of her then, while 42% do now.
Just about half of Americans say that most Democrats in Congress favor impeachment because they believe Trump committed impeachable offenses (48%), while around 4 in 10 say it’s because they are out to get Trump at all costs (42%). On congressional Republicans’ motivations, public opinion is flipped, with 50% saying Republicans in Congress mostly oppose impeachment because they are out to protect Trump at all costs, vs. 40% who say it’s because they believe Trump did not commit impeachable offenses.
The public divides over whether Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor who was mentioned in the President’s phone call with Ukraine’s President and has become a central figure in the impeachment inquiry, had too much influence over Trump’s foreign policy decisions – 40% say he did and 41% say he did not. The former mayor’s favorability ratings have taken a hit in the inquiry, as 56% now say they have an unfavorable view of him, up from 45% who felt that way last year, including a 17-point rise in unfavorable views among independents.
Trump’s favorability rating has not lost any ground, however, holding at 42% favorable and 56% unfavorable. The President has also seen his approval ratings for handling top issues hold steady or increase in the last month. His approval rating for handling the economy has rebounded from an early September dip: 52% approve on that score, up from 48%. His numbers have held about even on immigration and foreign affairs, while ticking up 4 points on foreign trade.
The CNN Poll was conducted by SSRS from October 17 through 20 among a random national sample of 1,003 adults reached on landlines or cellphones by a live interviewer. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.