CNN's latest poll on impeachment
Our latest CNN poll conducted by SSRS shows that 50% of Americans and 51% of voters want Donald Trump to be impeached and removed from office. This is the highest level of support for impeaching and removing Trump from office ever recorded by CNN. Only 43% of Americans and 44% of voters are against impeaching and removing him.
It’s also the first time that the percentage who want to impeach and remove Trump significantly outnumbers the percentage who don’t want him impeached removed.
In the two polls taken on the subject since the House’s impeachment inquiry began, a plurality of Americans have said they wanted to impeach and remove Trump. In no poll taken before then was this the case.
Here are a few other takeaways from the poll:
- Our poll is not an outlier and is fairly close to the average spread in October of 48% who want to impeach and remove Trump from office and 44% who don’t.
- Mike Pence’s net favorability rating (-7 points) is 7 points higher than Trump’s (-14 points).
- More Americans want to impeach and remove Trump from office now than Americans did at this point of the impeachment sagas of Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon.
- The percentage of Americans who feel strongly about Trump not being impeached and removed has dropped from 45% in the spring of this year to 37% now, which suggests Trump has room to lose more ground going forward.
- Rudy Giuliani’s favorable rating is lower than ever, while Nancy Pelosi’s is the highest in over a decade.
Once upon a time, Republicans relished the idea of running against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Even just last year, Republican House candidates featured her prominently in their ads. They probably won’t be doing so anymore.
Pelosi is arguably the most popular nationally-known politician currently holding federal elected office. She sports a 44% favorable rating in our CNN poll. That’s higher than Trump or Pence. Her net favorability rating of -2 points is also higher than Trump (-14 points) or Pence (-7 points).
Her 44% favorable rating is the highest CNN has recorded for her in over a decade. In fact, her three highest favorable ratings in CNN polling (all in the 40s) have occurred since she regained the speakership this year.
The fact though that Pelosi’s ratings have not fallen since the start of the impeachment inquiry suggests that Democrats are not playing on shaky ground by going after Trump.
Indeed, there’s been little movement in Pelosi's, Pence's and Trump’s popularity ratings since the inquiry began. The effect of impeachment is baked in the cake for now. Whether that continues may be the ultimate sign of how impeachment is playing out.
The 50% of Americans in our poll who want to impeach and remove Trump may seem like a natural number to some on the left. It’s most certainly not when looking at the long arc of history.
CNN asked whether three other presidents (George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama) should be impeached and removed from office during their presidency. None of them even came close to approaching the 50% on the impeach and remove question.
Perhaps even more impressive is that the percentage of Americans who want Trump impeached and removed is higher than the percentage who even approved of the impeachment inquiry into Clinton in 1998. Impeach and remove, of course, is a much higher bar.
When you look back over time, the only president who ever did reach 50% on impeach and remove was Richard Nixon during Watergate. (No CNN numbers exist from that time because CNN hadn't been founded yet.) Nixon, however, didn’t reach 50% on impeach and remove until June 1974. That’s long after the House Judiciary Committee started its impeachment inquiry of him.
Indeed, at this point in the Nixon impeachment process, only a little more than 40% of Americans were in favor of impeaching and removing him from office.
One of the interesting tidbits from our new poll is only 1% of voters and 2% of all adults have no opinion when it comes to Trump’s approval rating. This is only the second time during Trump’s presidency that such a low percentage of Americans could not form an opinion of him. Our last poll found that 6% of Americans had no opinion of Trump’s job performance.
Could it be that the impeachment inquiry is causing more Americans to choose a side when it comes to Trump? Maybe, though it’s too soon to say.
When you look at the average poll, it does seem that fewer and fewer Americans are undecided on Trump. During the first year of his presidency, an average of 6.2% of Americans had no opinion of Trump. That declined to 5.5% in his second year. Before the impeachment inquiry hit, an average of 4.8% of Americans this year were undecided on Trump. In the time since the impeachment inquiry began, the undecided percentage has declined to 4.4%.
These may seem like small drops, but we’re really scraping the bottom of the barrel given how low the percentage of undecideds was to begin with.
Indeed, few presidents have ever had this few Americans undecided about them. Only George W. Bush ever recorded a lower average undecided percentage this early in his presidency.
Overall, Trump is holding his own with Republicans on the impeach and remove question. Just 6% of Republicans want him impeached and removed from office, for instance.
Still, there’s another way of defining a “base.” For instance, you can look at the percentage of Americans who feel strongly that Trump should not be impeached and removed. Back in April and May of this year, 45% of Americans said they felt strongly that Trump should not be impeached and removed from office. That is right around the 46% of the vote Trump earned in the 2016 presidential election.
Today, only 37% feel strongly that Trump should not be impeached and removed from office. That’s an 8-point drop from earlier this year and is statistically significant. It also indicates that Trump has a lower floor on the impeach and remove question than we might think.
Meanwhile, 45% of Americans now feel strongly that Trump should be impeached and removed from office. This is a 9-point rise since May and an 11-point rise since April.
These numbers suggest that the impeach and remove numbers aren’t just becoming higher because of people who don’t feel strongly about getting Trump out of office. Rather, people are hardening on impeaching and removing Trump as well.
One eye-popping statistic from our latest poll is that 56% of Americans have an unfavorable view of Rudy Giuliani. Just 30% have a favorable view of him. As someone who has been following Giuliani’s career since he was mayor of New York City, it’s amazing to see how far Giuliani has fallen.
This is the first CNN poll ever in which Giuliani has an unfavorable above 50% (or even above 45%). It’s the second CNN poll in which his unfavorable rating is above his favorable rating. The only other time Giuliani's favorable rating was lower than unfavorable just so happened to be the other time we asked about his favorable rating during his time as personal attorney for Trump.
Even in the aftermath of his failed presidential bid during the 2008 cycle, Giuliani kept a 46% favorable rating to 39% unfavorable rating.
Back in 2004, a few years after his stint as New York mayor ended, Giuliani had a 65% favorable rating and a 14% unfavorable rating. The former has been cut in half, while the latter has quadrupled.
Among Democrats, his 56% favorable rating in 2004 has declined to 10% now. Among independents, he’s gone from a 61% favorable rating in 2004 to 24% now.
And even though he’s aligned himself so closely with Trump, his approval rating among Republicans gone from 77% in 2004 to 62% today.
Correction: This post has been updated to reflect that Giuliani’s favorable rating was lower than his unfavorable rating while he was Trump’s personal attorney.
The good news for Trump in our poll is that his approval and favorable ratings have not declined since the impeachment inquiry started. The bad news is his 41% approval rating and 42% favorable rating still very much lag his 57% disapproval rating and 56% unfavorable rating. These make for -16 point net approval (approval - disapproval) and -14 point net favorability (favorable - unfavorable) rating.
Vice President Mike Pence seems to be less disliked by the public. His unfavorable rating is 38%, while his favorable rating is 45%. It’s not surprising that Pence, a lesser known figure, has lower favorable and unfavorable ratings than Trump. What’s important is his -7 point net favorability rating is 7 points higher than Trump’s.
Pence seems to score higher with both Democrats (-56 points vs. -91 points for Trump) and independents (-13 points vs. -20 points for Trump).
Pence doing better than Trump shouldn’t be too surprising, given Trump is almost certainly underperforming given the state of the economy. (His economic approval rating is 11 points higher than his overall approval rating in our poll.)
So what’s one big reason Republican insiders won’t push for Pence over Trump? Republican voters would likely have fits. Trump still got a +86 point net favorability rating with Republicans. Pence’s net favorability rating with Republicans is +63 points.
One of the things I worry most about is when outlier polling data gets a lot of hype. But despite our strong headline of 50% of Americans and 51% of voters wanting Trump impeached and removed from office, our poll is no outlier.
Our poll numbers on impeaching and removing Trump are quite similar to what some other high quality pollsters have shown.
Take a look at what some other pollsters have found over the last two weeks:
Now, to be clear, there are some polls that aren’t as bad for Trump. Quinnipiac University’s last poll showed that 46% of voters wanted Trump impeached, while 48% were against it.
Still, the majority of data does suggest that more Americans than not support impeachment. Across all polls (totaling about 10,000 interviews) that asked the question in October, an average of 48% say Trump should be impeached and removed from office. Just 44% say he shouldn’t be. That difference is statistically significant.
Our latest CNN poll conducted by SSRS finds that 50% of all American adults and 51% of registered voters want President Donald Trump impeached and removed from office. That compares with 43% of adults and 44% of voters who don’t want this to happen.
This is the first time that a majority of voters in a CNN poll have said they want Trump impeached and removed from office. It's also the first time a clear plurality of adults want him impeached and removed.
Indeed, it’s the trend line on the question of impeaching and removing Trump that is interesting.
CNN has done two polls, including this one, about Trump being impeached and removed from office since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced an impeachment inquiry last month. In an average of those two polls, 49% of Americans said they wanted Trump impeached and removed from office. Just 44% said they didn’t want that to happen.
Before the inquiry started, we did six polls over the course of 2018 and 2019 that asked about impeaching and removing Trump from office. Over those six polls, the spread was 41% for impeaching and removing Trump and 54% against it.
It’s pretty clear that some combination of Trump’s actions regarding Ukraine or the Democrats pushing for an impeachment inquiry has moved the numbers.