Voters say Congress should press ahead with second Trump impeachment attempt

Linley SandersData Journalist
January 13, 2021, 2:43 PM UTC

On Wednesday, the US House of Representatives is expected to vote to impeach President Donald Trump for the second time in his presidency.

With only one week remaining until President-Elect Joe Biden takes his oath of office, opponents have argued that impeachment will further divide the nation without limiting President Trump’s term. Proponents of impeachment have said it is vital to hold the outgoing president responsible for encouraging his supporters to storm Congress last week, an attack in which five people died

If President Trump is impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate, then the Senate could also take a vote to prohibit him from “holding any office of honor” and ending a potential run for office in 2024. 

A YouGov poll conducted for NBC LX on January 12 finds that 53% of registered voters would like to see President Trump impeached and believe it is worth Congress attempting to do so. One in 14 adults (7%) say that while they would like to see the president impeached for a second time, it is not worth the effort it would take in his final week. About one-third (37%) do not want to see President Trump impeached, including the overwhelming majority of Republicans (83%). 

Should Congress focus on impeachment over unity? 

Another YouGov poll finds that America remains incredibly divided even after the presidential election was certified. Three-quarters of registered voters (76%) say the country is “very divided,” a similar number to an NBC LX survey conducted in November (73%).  

While Americans tend to support impeachment, they do not want it to come at the expense of unifying the country. Half of registered voters (50%) want Democrats in Congress to prioritize trying to unite the nation, even if this means less priority is given to impeaching President Trump. However, most Democrats (57%) want their party leaders in Congress to focus on impeaching President Trump, even if this means less priority is given to uniting the nation. 

Should Joe Biden focus on unity or policy? 

Registered voters increasingly want President-Elect Biden to also focus on uniting the nation, even if this means less priority is given to the legislative agenda he campaigned on. In November, two in five (41%) registered voters prioritized uniting the nation over Biden’s policy goals. That number rose 11-points in January (52%). 

Republicans are 20-points more likely (50% to 70%) to say that Biden should prioritize “trying to unite the nation, even if this means less priority is given to the legislative agenda he campaigned on.” Most Independents (56%) want Biden to focus on uniting the nation, compared to 50% in November.  

This seems to be a theme Biden himself has his eyes on from his first moments in office — he announced on Monday that the theme of his inauguration will be “America United.” However, if Biden chooses to set aside his legislative agenda in favor of uniting America, he may not find favor with his own party. About half of Democrats (47%) want Biden to enact the legislative agenda he campaigned on, even if this means less priority is given to uniting the nation. Only one-third (37%) would sacrifice those policy goals for the sake of unity. 

Related: Most voters say the events at the US Capitol are a threat to democracy 

See the crosstabs from the January 2021 polls on unity and impeachment, and compare to the November 2020 poll 

MethodologyYouGov polled 1,200 registered voters in two surveys on January 12, 2021. The surveys were conducted . The first survey fielded from 8:20 a.m. to 10:20 a.m. EST and the second survey fielded from 11:30 a.m. to 11:53 a.m. EST. The surveys were carried out through YouGov Direct. Data is weighted on age, gender, education level, political affiliation and ethnicity to be nationally representative of adults in the United States. The margin of error is approximately 3.3% and 3.7% for the overall samples.

Image: Getty