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A Surprising Number Of Americans Support Impeachment

July 15, 2014 by  

A Surprising Number Of Americans Support Impeachment
OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE PHOTO BY PETE SOUZA

A remarkable 35 percent of Americans believe Congress would be right in bringing articles of impeachment against President Barack Obama — a percentage that mirrors the support for impeachment that bedeviled Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, as he neared the end of his second term.

According to a poll released Monday by the Huffington Post and research firm YouGov, the high percentage nearly matches the 36 percent support for impeachment against Bush a similar Gallup survey revealed in 2007.

In Obama’s case, predictably, self-identified Republicans account for the majority — 68 percent — of those who favor impeachment. That’s a near-reversal of the political demographics behind the impeach-Bush movement, when Gallup found that 54 percent of Democrats supported removing Bush from office.

The 35 percent of Americans who say impeachment is justified is almost as great as the percentage of Americans who believe Obama hasn’t done anything impeachable. According to YouGov, 39 percent say Obama has not abused his executive-branch powers, compared with 36 percent who felt the same way about Bush in 2007.

Even though a relative minority of Americans support impeachment, nearly half believe Obama has abused his power. Widening their questioning, YouGov asked Americans whether Obama had exceeded his authority — without mentioning impeachment as a recourse. “The latest results from YouGov show that 49% of Americans do think that President Obama has exceeded the constitutional limits of Presidential authority,” the poll synopsis stated.

It turns out that Democrats represent the only political demographic for whom the majority doesn’t agree on that point. “89% of Republicans say that he has [abused his authority], along with 52% of Independents but only 16% of Democrats agree,” wrote YouGov. “67% of Democrats, along with 25% of Independents and 6% of Republicans, say that he has not exceeded the constitutional limits on his authority.”

Impeachment proceedings begin in the House of Representatives, but there’s little chance that the Republican-controlled House will move on impeachment. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has repeatedly refused to countenance calls for impeachment — just as Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), as she prepared to assume the Speaker’s role in late 2006, insisted a Bush impeachment was “off the table.”

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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