About a week ago, Donald Trump published a tweet that claimed, "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."
Each of the claims in the tweet was absurd, but it was the specific polling statistic that stood out: the president wants the public to know that impeachment currently polls at only 25%. If that were true, it'd create a difficult political dynamic on Capitol Hill.
Except, it's not at all true. Trump has a curious habit of simply making up numbers in his mind, pretending they're real, and asking everyone to play along, but in this case, public support for impeachment is roughly double what the Republican said it was.
Consider the latest Gallup poll, for example.
Public opinion on whether Trump should be impeached remains mixed, but Americans now lean slightly more in favor of impeachment and removal from office compared with where they stood in June.Currently, 52% say Trump should be impeached and removed from office, while 46% say he should not be. This is roughly the opposite of what Gallup found in June when asked in the context of special counselor Robert Mueller's investigation.
The same results found that 55% of self-identified independents support impeaching the president and removing him from office, while 89% of Democrats agree. (Only 6% of Republican voters feel the same way.)
And while these results are interesting in their own right, one of the things that make the figures especially notable is the pollster that released them: Gallup is one of the nation's oldest pollsters, which makes it possible to do some helpful historical comparisons.
In fact, a Washington Post analysis yesterday highlighted a fascinating detail:
New data from Gallup released on Wednesday shows Trump's approval rating -- 39 percent -- is about where Nixon's was in the middle of 1973. The level of support for impeaching him and removing him from office, though -- 52 percent -- is essentially where Nixon's would have been right before he resigned in August of the following year. [...]Gallup's report on support for impeaching Trump notes only 32 percent of the country wanted to see President Bill Clinton removed from office in late 1998. Meaning the only time Americans have ever told Gallup they more strongly support impeaching and removing a president from office -- on Aug. 5, 1974 -- that president was gone four days later.
Trump may like to believe support for his impeachment is "pretty low," but in every way that matters, he's spectacularly wrong.