February 9, 2021
With his impeachment trial set to begin on February 9, a majority of Americans—56%—say they want the Senate to convict former President Donald Trump and to bar him from holding federal office ever again, according to findings of a new ABC News/Ipsos poll released Sunday.
The new poll was conducted by Ipsos in partnership with ABC News, using Ipsos’ KnowledgePanel.
Compared to public attitudes during the early days of the former president’s first impeachment trial, support for the Senate conviction is higher now. In an ABC News/Washington Post poll published in late January 2020—when the first trial was ongoing, but before senators had voted—47% of Americans said the Senate should vote to remove Trump from office and 49% said he should not be removed.
On January 13, Trump became the first president ever to be impeached by the House of Representatives twice, when a majority of the body’s members voted in favor of charging Trump with “incitement of insurrection” for his role in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
A key difference between this trial and the first is that Trump is no longer president and therefore cannot be removed from office. All but five Republican senators have gone on the record saying they think the trial is unconstitutional because of this fact. Still, Democrats have argued that failing to hold Trump accountable would signal to future presidents that they can evade punishment for their actions, as long as they come at the end of their term in office.
It would take 67 senators to vote to convict Trump—meaning 17 Republicans would need to be on board, assuming every member of the Democratic caucus votes to convict, ABC notes. If enough senators vote to convict, the chamber could hold a second vote on whether to bar him from holding federal office again. That would only take a simple majority.
A few Republican senators have said, or have reportedly said, that they think Trump committed an impeachable offense. Yet, none has said definitively that he or she will vote to convict the ex-president. But unlike the first impeachment, when no Republicans voted to impeach Trump in the House, 10 Republicans joined Democrats this time, including the chair of the House Republican Conference, Liz Cheney.
Among Democrats, support for Trump’s conviction is nearly universal in the ABC News/Ipsos poll, with 92% in favor. Independents mirror the full population, with 54% in support of the Senate convicting Trump and prohibiting him from holding office, and 45% against.
Research contact: @abcnews