Poll: 68 percent of Republicans say Obama should be impeached

MinnPost file photo by Jana Freiband
President Barack Obama

A poll by YouGov for the Huffington Post finds that 35 percent of Americans think that Congress would be justified in beginning impeachment proceedings against President Obama; 44 percent said no and 21 percent were not sure.

Big surprise: The partisan divide was huge. Sixty-eight percent of Repubs said yes; just 9 percent of Dems said so.

The next surprise: When Gallup asked the same question about President George W. Bush in 2007, 54 percent of Dems said yes, Congress would be justified in beginning impeachment proceedings. Just 9 percent of Repubs agreed.

The third shoe: In 1998, the House actually did impeach President Bill Clinton. (The Senate, of course, did not remove him from office.) A 2001 ABC/WashPost poll found that 77 percent of Republicans and 45 percent of independents, but only 17 percent of Democrats, thought the impeachment had been justified.

Full Huff Post story is here.

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Comments (46)

  1. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 07/15/2014 - 09:53 am.

    I think the calls for impeachment are premature. Let’s at least wait until his IRS minions are indicted.

  2. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 07/15/2014 - 10:17 am.

    That’s the problem with having the “outrage meter” perpetually pegged at “11” and a strategy that specifically consists of “do nothing that could be considered compromise”, and a claim that the “Obama is destroying America”.

    There’s only one or two options after that.

    And impeachment is the legal one.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 07/15/2014 - 10:43 am.

      Well ……

      Given the Constitutional grounds for impeachment, it’s not clear that impeachment is a legal option. The Constitution says nothing about policy differences being the basis for impeachment.
      “Section 4. All civil offices forfeited for certain crimes.

      The President, Vice President, and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

      Obama himself would have to be proven to be guilty of one of the above.

      • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 07/15/2014 - 11:53 am.

        From the days of the Starr report


        In 1787, a few days before they finished writing the Constitution, the men working on it stumbled on an unresolved question: Under what circumstances should Congress be able to impeach the President? No doubt tired of parsing legalisms after months of work, they took only about five minutes to dispense with the constitutional crisis. They had already decided that treason and bribery were no-brainers–definitely grounds for impeachment–but George Mason of Virginia said he was concerned that those two crimes didn’t capture “many great and dangerous offenses.” So he suggested adding “maladministration” to the list of impeachable no-nos. When others complained that the term was too vague, he offered this legal delicacy: “other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

        It was a brilliant little piece of 18th century spin. The fusty phrase carried the weight of history even back then: it had been around since at least 1386, when Members of Parliament used it to describe the financial shenanigans of one Michael de la Pool. The phrase seemed to combine the right measure of breadth and gravity–not just any crimes, but the “high” ones. A quick vote was taken, the phrase was accepted, and now the President’s fate rests on it.

        The 18th century may have been a time when English common law was studied and revered, but at the end of the 20th, we’re more familiar with TV’s Judge Judy than with James Madison. “High crimes and misdemeanors” sounds like it could mean anything, from murder to jaywalking. And here’s the rub–Mason’s dirty little secret–it could mean anything. The Constitution gives the House of Representatives sole authority to decide what constitutes grounds for impeachment. That’s why President Andrew Johnson was impeached in 1868, when a nasty political dispute got out of hand. (The Senate failed by a vote to convict him, and he stayed in office.)


        (end quote)

        Even if the grand jury “can indict a ham sandwich”, just like the House, the hard work comes later with actually bringing a real case.

  3. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/15/2014 - 10:30 am.

    Nostalgia Time

    Remember Iran-Contra? You know, the time when the President allowed an off-the-books illegal arms trading operation to be run out of the White House, and then lied about it? Remember how some of the President’s minions were convicted of felonies arising out of that little contretemps (but were ultimately pardoned or had convictions overturned on grounds other than their innocence)?

    Remember how Ben Bradlee, ur-establishment liberal and pillar of the so-called left-wing media, said impeachment was not going to happen because it would have been “too soon” after Watergate, and it would look like the impeachment process was used solely for partisan purposes, and we didn’t want that? Remember how that meant the President who presided over one of the four most lawless/corrupt administrations in US history got to skate, and continues to be adored by his acolytes?

    Good times.

    • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 07/15/2014 - 11:18 am.

      Funny you mention Watergate. Article 2 of Nixon’s articles of impeachment:

      “He has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, endeavoured to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposed not authorized by law, and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be intitiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.”


      Better times to come!

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/15/2014 - 01:38 pm.

        Funny you should mention that

        Albeit entirely predictable.

        The IRS is supposed to deny tax exemptions for groups engaged in political campaigning. Anyone with any sense would have to wonder if groups formed to oppose President Obama would meet that criteria.

        As has been noted, progressive groups were also investigated. In the end, all the tea party kids have to complain about is their application for an exemption from the law didn’t come through quickly enough.

      • Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 07/15/2014 - 01:48 pm.


        was the name to the affair which involved Reagan not Nixon. Reagan, Bush, Poindexter, North, and a number of others committed “high crimes and misdemeanors” in dealing with Iran and the CIA sponsored contras in Nicaragua.

        Any comparison of Nixon and Obama is specious. Nixon actually used the IRS to punish his political enemies. If you are referring to the threatened revocation of a tax exempt status from a 501 (c)(3) entity that is being used fraudulently to funnel political funds, what part of that is misuse of the IRS?

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 07/15/2014 - 11:24 am.

      The law

      that the left-wing congress passed that made it illegal to arm the anti-communist forces in central America was dubious and anti-American and hardly rose to the level of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.” If you’ll remember, the democrat-controlled congress tried to burn Col. Oliver North at the stake for his role but the American people didn’t buy the democrats’ bogus reasoning and Col. North emerged a hero from those proceedings.

      • Submitted by Lance Groth on 07/15/2014 - 12:52 pm.

        Do you really mean that?

        Dennis, tsk, have you even thought through the implications of what you said? So, because you (and presumably the president) didn’t like a law, it was ok for the president to violate it – that’s your argument? In other words, the president is above the law, and may pick and choose which to obey as he sees fit? Augustus Caesar would love that line of reasoning, and Obama should then get a pass for ignoring any laws that Congress has passed – the very definition of an imperial presidency. Actually, another president did love that line of reasoning: “When the President does it, that means that it’s not illegal.” It didn’t work out so well for him.

        I’m genuinely surprised that you, a man who is proud of his role in defending this nation through military service, and presumably feels genuinely patriotic, would advocate that the rule of law is arbitrary where the president is concerned. Is that what you thought you were defending in that submarine? It is as undemocratic and anti-constitutional a position as any I have ever heard.

        • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 07/15/2014 - 01:40 pm.

          Surely you jest

          “One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws” – Dr. Martin Luther King

          Laws intended to withhold national assets in the fight against communism are unjust laws in a free society.

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/15/2014 - 02:20 pm.

            Are you serious?!

            The President was engaged in civil disobedience? I don’t know whether to laugh or guffaw.

            I will leave aside the fact that the corollary of disobeying unjust laws is to take one’s punishment proudly (a la Gandhi). Trying to weasel out of it by hiding behind subordinates or relying on crude lies is not a part of it.

            (Incidentally, do you mean that, if President Obama decided in retrospect that the immediate implementation of the employer mandate was “unjust in a free society,” you would give him a pass and say impeachment is not warranted? No, don’t bother trying to answer: it was a rhetorical question.)

          • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 07/15/2014 - 03:26 pm.

            It’s for the Supreme Court to decide

            what laws are just.
            And the Supremes can be impeached.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/15/2014 - 01:35 pm.

        The law

        While it may have been ” dubious and anti-American,” it was nonetheless the law. That is the very definition of a “high crime and misdemeanor.”

        Colonel North, the man who was known to have an unseemly zeal for military government, emerged from the affair as a convicted felon. His conviction was overturned due to prosecutorial error. He is no hero to anyone who believes in democracy.

      • Submitted by Steve Hoffman on 07/17/2014 - 05:55 pm.


        “Col. North emerged a hero from those proceedings.”

        Only to the most partisan and least-informed among us. He engaged in criminal conduct and tried to wrap himself in a flag to excuse it.

    • Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 07/15/2014 - 11:30 am.

      I remember

      but it wasn’t until Clinton was impeached that it became clear that “it’s only OK if you are a Republican.” There is no crime or misdemeanor committed by a Republican president or his “minions” that any Republican would consider impeachable. The corollary to that rule is that not being a Republican President is itself an impeachable “crime and misdemeanor.” The only reason the Republican House is waiting to impeach Obama is to see if they have a majority in the Senate after November so they don”t make the mistake they made with Clinton.

      • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 07/15/2014 - 01:39 pm.

        That’s not true at all. Although I don’t speak for them, I bet most Republicans would agree that impeaching Nixon for using the IRS as a weapon was the right thing to do.

        What I find inexplicable is how leftists don’t see how discouraging such blatant abuse of power doesn’t protect them as much as the rest of America.

        • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 07/15/2014 - 03:22 pm.

          In fact

          It was republican congressional leaders who went to the White House and told Nixon he had to resign.

          Compare that to the gang of democrats who stood on the steps of the capital, some of whom were attorneys, and defended Bill Clinton’s perjury in his sexual harassment case and tacitly approved of his attempts at witness tampering with Miss Lewinski and others.

          Like I said at the time, any decent man would have resigned.

        • Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 07/15/2014 - 04:21 pm.

          “Blatant abuse of power”

          Republicans only see “blatant abuse of power” when it’s not them wielding it or, according to the corollary rule, when anyone not a card-carrying Republican has it. When Dick Cheney has his oil and gas industry buddies to the White House in secret meetings and agrees to exempt his old firm Halliburton and its fracking patent from the Safe Drinking Water Act, that’s not any abuse of power at all. Or when President G.W Bush pressures US Attorneys to investigate and prosecute trumped up claims of “voter fraud, that’s not abuse of power. Or when Ronald Reagan violates the law to negotiate with terrorists and exchange “arms for hostages” to undermine the duly elected government of another country, not’s not abuse of power, that’s patriotism.

          The tax law clearly prohibits 501 (c)(3) entities from becoming engaged in politics or from using tax deductible donations for political purposes. I’ve always thought that law to be a fair and rational one designed to maintain the integrity of a fair tax system. The Republican Party and the Right sees that regulation as a “First Amendment violation” because taxes are all unconstitutional anyway. As one of the other commenters pointed out, the only 501 (c)(3) entity that has lost its tax exempt status has been a “liberal” one. Another example of IOKIURAR. I read now that the IRS has capitulated on its enforcement of these rules. Congratulations on your victory.

  4. Submitted by Jon Lord on 07/15/2014 - 11:09 am.

    This is bordering on insanity. Well, I guess it’s just the GOP continuing in their bid to keep driving a permanent wedge between the American People. Is it that the civil war is still alive and well?

    As RB mentions, the GOP says “Do as we say, not as we do.” Double-speak all the way.

  5. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 07/15/2014 - 11:14 am.

    The problem with these polls

    is that they’re just approval ratings in disguise. If they really wanted an accurate measure of whether or not the people think President X should be impeached, the poll should include the probable charge(s) that caused such a poll to be considered.

    We may not like a president’s policies or his decision on this or that, or his leadership skills, but impeachment requires evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors.

    Most people couldn’t tell you what the two charges were that impeached Bill Clinton (perjury & obstruction of justice). Thanks to the press’ handling of that whole debacle, most people believe he was impeached for having an affair with an intern, which of course isn’t true.

    The poll question for Obama should have said something like: “Would the congress be justified in bringing charges of impeachment against Obama if it was shown that he used the considerable powers of the IRS against his political enemies?”

    I doubt there would have been as many “undecideds” (21%) if that had been the case.

    And then finally, they should only poll likely or registered voters. “Adults” is a meaningless demographic when measuring political issues.

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 07/15/2014 - 11:39 am.

      Nice work Dennis. That was an excellent example of a ‘push-poll’ question.

      Also, the only known organization that was ACTUALLY denied tax exempt status by the IRS was a liberal group: http://www.salon.com/2013/05/15/meet_the_group_the_irs_actually_revoked_democrats/

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 07/15/2014 - 11:51 am.

      Good points!

      And of course a successful impeachment would just remove him from office.
      He would then have to be tried by a court (not Congress) for actual criminal offenses.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 07/15/2014 - 11:55 am.

      With as much speculative content as the IRS charges have you might as well ask the question, “Should Obama be impeached for preparing the way for his Martian overlords?”

    • Submitted by jason myron on 07/15/2014 - 12:40 pm.

      Well, you might as well ask

      any hypothetical, GOP conspiracy theory as there isn’t one shred of evidence to support that statement.

      • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 07/15/2014 - 01:42 pm.

        “there isn’t one shred of evidence to support that statement”

        Lois Lerner certainly believes she’s covered her tracks, but I’d wait to see what the special prosecutor comes up with before dong the happy feet dance if I were her, or you.

        • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 07/15/2014 - 02:53 pm.

          So you are alleging that Barack Obama directly told Lois Lerner to apply special scrutiny to tax-exempt conservative groups?

        • Submitted by jason myron on 07/15/2014 - 03:05 pm.

          Lois Lerner

          doesn’t equate to a direct line to Obama…but you go on thinking that. Lerner evoked a constitutional right…or do you people just stop after the 2nd? Once again…not one shred of evidence.

    • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 07/17/2014 - 10:58 am.


      You start out sounding all reasonable and then…

      Well, the problem with these polls is that they’re limited to the people who actually take them. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t receive a call. That’s because I work and I don’t have a land line. And though some polls have actually started using cell phones, people who have to pay for cell phone use (pretty much anyone who owns one and isn’t a child on a parent’s cell package) generally don’t want to receive random calls on their cell phones and so don’t answer or specifically block such calls. You know who’s most likely to do this? Doesn’t matter because, regardless of who that group of people represents, they’re not being polled. That means these polls are inherently biased. But, for the sake of consideration, let’s just say that it’s likely that many of these people are similar to myself–well educated, employed, well paid, and uninterested in playing into the daily popularity vote. These people also don’t believe that poll results have any import except to prop up someone’s argument.

      So, even if you lead the pollees with your “probable charges,” you’re doing nothing but propping up an argument with the opinions of a bunch of people with the leisure time to answer the phone for people they don’t know.

      Also, regarding Clinton’s impeachment–it’s likely that most people commenting on the MinnPost page are well aware of the actual charges. They’re also well aware that the charges were only relevant AFTER the impeachment process began. After all, perjury and obstruction of justice can only be charges if there’s a criminal case being investigated. Since this all started out as an affair (none of our damn business) and didn’t extend from ANY of Starr’s other investigations into actual potential crimes (e.g., Whitewater, Paula Jones’ lawsuit, etc.), it seems to me that, in fact, the $70 MILLION charges of perjury and obstruction of justice were, in fact, really just nicknames for a sex scandal.

  6. Submitted by chuck holtman on 07/15/2014 - 11:40 am.

    Did the survey

    Ask those favoring or uncertain about impeachment proceedings what the grounds for impeachment would be? I’d be surprised if one in a hundred could offer anything that rests on an actual fact or approaches cogency. Is there any statistic that better suggests how unserious we have become or how feckless our media?

    I’m not an Obama fan and, indeed, don’t think its possible to serve as President without committing high crimes and misdemeanors, given the powers that operate unchecked and opaquely to demand that the federal government act contrary to the public interest. But to suggest impeachment for Obama after tolerating the wholesale dishonesty and destruction of the Bush administration suggests a condition that surely has a clinical name.

  7. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 07/15/2014 - 12:21 pm.


    Yes, but how many meant it?

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/15/2014 - 04:28 pm.

      Every last one of them

      The depths of Obama-hatred in the Republican Party should not be misunderestimated, to use a good, Republican word.

  8. Submitted by Arnie Hillmann on 07/15/2014 - 02:25 pm.

    Obama Impeachment

    Relax folks! The process to do so takes long enough that he will be out of office before impeachment could be implemented. Do you really want Joe Biden to be your President????

    • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 07/15/2014 - 03:22 pm.

      A Biden administration would be the highlight of the year. He can’t do much more harm, and he’d be high entertainment!

      • Submitted by Logan Foreman on 07/16/2014 - 07:56 am.

        Now Bush was

        High entertainment, except to all the soldiers who were sent to fight his personal phony war.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/16/2014 - 11:18 am.

          And . . .

          The Iraqi people who died, or who were left with a broken country, because the President of the United States was working through some unresolved Oedipal issues. I don’t think they were laughing.

          • Submitted by jason myron on 07/16/2014 - 12:00 pm.

            Talk about entertainment…

            Can you imagine the howls of indignation from the right if it was Obama that landed on an aircraft carrier like he just finished a personal bombing sortie over Baghdad, and gave a thumbs up under a banner that said “mission accomplished?” The rightie congress critters would have skipped right over impeachment and demanded a speedy trial followed by a pubic execution, Hannity would have devoted his show to it for months and Mark Levin’s head might have literally exploded twenty minutes into his first hour.

        • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 07/18/2014 - 09:44 am.

          He was just following orders…

          Dick Cheney’s orders.

  9. Submitted by David Broden on 07/15/2014 - 02:41 pm.

    Consider the Polling Credibility Please

    A opinion poll that suggest GOP high percentage for impeachment is in itself worth a challenge. This poll outcome once again confirms a basic point that there are two types of polls– 1) those polls in which the questions are defined to ask the answer and 2) those that are objective and rigorous in questions and statistical significance. Having done polling in both political and basic opinon situations I have seen both and only will do the objective type 2 poll. Today candidates and organization purposely design polls to sell their message. While many may disagree with Obama’s approach and results -he has not shown that he has done any impeachable offense. As citizen and responsible citizens we will make the informed change in US leadership via the ballot box in 2016. Meanwhile we need to focus on cleaning up the purposely biased polling activities and firms.
    Dave Broden

  10. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 07/17/2014 - 11:06 am.


    The title of this should say “68 percent of POLLED Republicans say Obama should be impeached”
    As I’ve said, and others as well, poll results are only as good as the poll, itself. Polls are inherently flawed because they don’t get the opinions of those who aren’t polled. Further, the questions often bait the respondents into a specific answer. In addition, especially with a poll such as this, which asks a legal question, opinion of laypeople is pretty worthless. Finally, in a great number of cases, when someone responds with “I think” they’ve already lied. Does this poll mean that 68% of Republicans have the legal background to understand whether Obama should be impeached? Or does it mean that 68% of Republicans erred when they claimed “I think?” Neither. It simply means that people with nothing better to do than talk to strangers on the phone (probably on a land line, and that’s meaningful) stated their opinion based on nothing but whether they like Obama.

  11. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 07/18/2014 - 09:51 am.

    The biggest problem that seems to have emerged

    Isn’t so much these partisan opinions as is the Republican refusal to accept election results. It seems like with every passing election cycle Republicans become more determined to find ways to nullify elections that they lose, or stack the deck (i.e. voter ID requirements etc.) to make harder for Democrats to win elections.

    This is a basic rejection of our democracy, a refusal to participate on rather than dominate the political landscape. When you look at the Republican campaigns you see that they are impervious to voter expectations beyond their own small base. If you’re not going to respond to voter expectations, logic dictates that your going to have to circumvent rather than win elections. Hence, impeaching elected officials whenever you lose the elections.

    • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 07/22/2014 - 08:04 pm.

      Yes, I’ve noticed that, too

      Many of the people who comment on the Strib’s website are convinced that Obama won Minnesota because the DFL bused “illegal immigrants and welfare mothers” from precinct to precinct.

      They are also convinced that both Franken and Dayton cheated their way into office, despite the fact that the recounts were observed and approved by both the DFL and the Republicans.

      I suspect that the AM radio machine had a lot to do with egging that attitude on, because a lot of the commentators used exactly the same wording.

      And don’t get me started on the 2000 election, where a group of people who turned out to be aides to Republican Congressmen “rioted” to stop the counting of votes in Florida.

  12. Submitted by Barry Tungseth on 07/22/2014 - 09:12 am.

    Both current ruling parties need to go

    As far as I`m concerned, reading the stats tells me it`s time to remove both the current ruling parties from our government for once and for all. They are both bought and paid forby the great propaganda machine that has been instituted within our government over the years, to sway one issue voters into compliance. I`d rather see armed revolution and heads rolling. Time to throw out the dishwater that they have created from the supreme court down…..like a cancer that needs to be cut out. I`m sick of them all out there in D.C………. they are all out of touch, so we need to “touch them” back to reality. Talking sure doesn`t work when it come to overhauling the presant bull we as Americans are now forced to swallow. From “trickle down”, and bank and Wall Street buy outs, sticking Americas nose where we have no business [both in finance and in wars] to the Warner and Patriot Acts, the American middle class is about gone, and we are being slowly controlled and manipulated like lambs to the slaughter. Talking will not stop it. Revolution gets closer by the day as I see it. Wen the average citizen finnally gets fed up, they react. It`s getting closer………………

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