Americans are on high alert as the country seeks to regain its balance after the mob attack on the Capitol last week, according to a range of polls released in recent days that reveal a nation frustrated by the president’s actions and unsure of what comes next.
Three in four respondents to a nationwide CBS News/YouGov poll released Wednesday said it was at least somewhat likely that attempted violence could occur at President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s inauguration ceremony, which will take place on the Capitol steps just two weeks after armed extremists stormed the building.
A Quinnipiac University survey released this week found that 70 percent of voters expressed concern for the safety of elected officials in the country.
Clear majorities in those and other nationwide polls said President Trump bore the blame for the rioting at the Capitol last week, and his approval ratings have fallen to historic lows in his final days in office. But support for impeaching and removing him is not as widespread, although some polls do show a slim majority of the country backing it.
House Democrats, with the support of some Republicans, voted to impeach the president on Wednesday, the first time in history that a president has been impeached twice.
The CBS poll found 55 percent of Americans favoring his impeachment, and another survey out this week from Politico and Morning Consult showed 53 percent of voters supporting it. The Quinnipiac poll (conducted by phone, unlike the online-based CBS and Politico polls) found 52 percent of voters supporting the president’s removal from office.
Survey researchers of all methodologies went through a tough 2020, with polling systematically underestimating Mr. Trump’s support for the second time in two presidential elections. Pollsters haven’t conclusively determined what caused the failures, so it can be hard to be sure that support for Mr. Trump isn’t actually a few points stronger across the board.
But it is potentially more useful to watch for trends over time, which is more like comparing apples to apples. From this point of view, the public appears to be slightly — but meaningfully — more receptive to the idea of impeaching the president than it was at this time last year, when Democrats’ efforts to remove the president from office divided the country almost down the middle.
At that time, close to half of voters said they thought Democrats were pushing to remove the president for political reasons, and doubted that the charges against Mr. Trump were worth impeaching him for.
This time, the country is more broadly in agreement on the dire nature of what Mr. Trump has been accused of. Roughly six in 10 Americans said in the CBS poll that they thought the president had encouraged violence at the Capitol. A PBS NewsHour/Marist College survey conducted by phone on the day after the attack found 63 percent of the country saying the president bore considerable blame for the chaos.
The Trump Impeachment ›
From Riot to Impeachment
The riot inside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, followed a rally at which President Trump made an inflammatory speech to his supporters, questioning the results of the election. Here’s a look at what happened and at the ongoing fallout:
- As this video shows, poor planning and a restive crowd encouraged by President Trump set the stage for the riot.
- A two hour period was crucial to turning the rally into the riot.
- Several Trump administration officials, including cabinet members Betsy DeVos and Elaine Chao, announced that they were stepping down as a result of the riot.
- Federal prosecutors have charged more than 70 people, including some who appeared in viral photos and videos of the riot. Officials expect to eventually charge hundreds of others.
- The House has begun proceedings on an article of impeachment. It accuses the president of “inciting an insurrection” that led to the rampage by his supporters.
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