FACT CHECK: Do Only 25% Of Americans Support Impeachment, As Trump Claims?
President Donald Trump claimed Oct. 9 on Twitter that only 25% of Americans support his impeachment. The tweet has garnered more than 100,000 likes.
Only 25 percent want the President Impeached, which is pretty low considering the volume of Fake News coverage, but pretty high considering the fact that I did NOTHING wrong. It is all just a continuation of the greatest Scam and Witch Hunt in the history of our Country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 9, 2019
The Daily Caller News Foundation found no polls showing 25% support for impeachment among Americans. FiveThirtyEight and numerous national polls put support closer to the 40-50% range.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced in late September that the House would begin a formal impeachment inquiry following the allegation that Trump pressured the Ukrainian president to investigate a potential political rival. (RELATED: Did Vermont Gov. Phil Scott Vote To Impeach President Trump?)
Trump, some noted, has tried to downplay the growing momentum to move forward with the impeachment inquiry, though Pelosi has since said the House will hold off on voting to authorize the formal inquiry for now.
“Only 25 percent want the President Impeached, which is pretty low considering the volume of Fake News coverage, but pretty high considering the fact that I did NOTHING wrong,” Trump tweeted on Oct. 9. “It is all just a continuation of the greatest Scam and Witch Hunt in the history of our Country!”
Trump claims that “only 25 percent” of Americans support impeachment but, according to multiple polling experts, that number is significantly lower than any polls they’ve seen on the issue.
“I don’t see a single poll that’s been conducted in the past month and a half that is even close to 25 percent,” Brian Schaffner, a political scientist at Tufts University, told the DCNF in an email.
Quinnipiac University polling analyst Tim Malloy said in an email to the DCNF, “Our numbers and the numbers of other reputable polls are nowhere close to that number.”
FiveThirtyEight, a data journalism website known for its presidential election forecasts, found that 50.2% of Americans support impeachment proceedings and 43.8% do not, as of Wednesday. Those figures come from an aggregation of polls taken on the issue since Aug. 1, based on an “updating calculation of support for and opposition to impeachment, accounting for each poll’s quality, recency, sample size and partisan lean.” (Polls asking if Trump should simply be impeached and those asking if he should be impeached and removed from office were included.)
Polling from Quinnipiac University, Ipsos, Fox News, Morning Consultant, HarrisX and NBC News all show support for impeachment in the 40 to 50% range in the week leading up to Trump’s tweet. FiveThirtyEight put support at nearly half for all Americans on Oct. 8.
Further breaking down the data, FiveThirtyEight found support for impeachment largely depends on party identification, with 82.1% of Democrats in favor compared to 14.4% of Republicans on Oct. 8, the day before Trump made his claim on Twitter.
Rasmussen Reports, a polling organization frequently cited by Trump, has also found support for impeachment among Americans to be well higher than 25% in recent months. In May, Rasmussen released a poll that put support for impeachment at 40%.
It’s possible that Trump may have pulled the figure from internal polling data, but several polling experts speculated that, even if this was the case, that percentage may not give an accurate picture of public opinion.
Robert Shapiro, a political science professor at Columbia University, speculated in an email to the DCNF:
It is possible it is internal polling. But we need to see the question wording and also the order of questions in the survey which affect later responses. The one thing to find out is what are the results for impeachment questions asked in surveys that use voter lists as their sampling frame rather than a random digit dialing or other method of surveying/sampling. Or does the 25% include only voters in Republican primaries which would be Republicans and also Independent who could vote in open primaries. The 25% is clearly a big outlier.
A Washington Post-Schar School poll does put support for impeachment at 25%, but that figure only captures the responses of Republican and Republican-leaning Independents, not Americans overall. Fifty-eight percent of Americans support impeachment, and 49% support removal of Trump from office, according to the same poll.
Trump may be citing the 25% figure from that poll. If that’s the case, his tweet lacked important context clarifying which segment of respondents this percentage actually reflected.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
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