The number of Americans who believe it’s time for Congress to initiate impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump has reached its highest mark yet, according to a new Morning Consult survey published on Wednesday.
The survey reports that 43 percent of Americans support impeachment. The number is up five points in just one week from Morning Consult’s latest poll on the issue, raising the figure to more than two-fifths of Americans. Notably, that increase in support for impeachment has occurred across demographics like age group, where support among even older citizens has risen by five points, in step with the general trend.
Forty-three percent does not constitute a majority, and 45 percent of those polls still say they don’t support impeachment proceedings (down from 46 percent last time around), but the sharp increase in support for impeachment in a such a short time is nonetheless striking.
Morning Consult also cited general incompetence as the primary reason Americans would like to see Trump impeached. 54 percent of Democrats and 48 percent of Republicans who want the same listed it as their main cause of concern.
What is important to remember is that impeachment does not mean removal from office. Impeachment proceedings, as the survey correctly identifies them, merely initiate the process wherein the president will be tried by the Senate for the offense that the House, whose responsibility it is to initiate impeachment, deems impeachable. If convicted, the president will then be removed from office.
Many may also be wondering whether or not incompetence actually constitutes an impeachable offense since it isn’t necessarily a crime, in a strictly legal sense.
The Constitution says of impeachment that, “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.”
Those qualifications, particularly the “high crimes and misdemeanors” mentioned, are vague, and power is vested entirely in Congress to decide what they mean. Former President Gerald Ford famously said that an impeachable offense “is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history.”
For now, it’s left to the Republican-controlled legislature to decide.
Read the full report on the Morning Consult survey here.