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Majority back impeachment and are concerned about more D.C. violence — CBS News poll

Poll: Majority of Americans back impeachment
CBS News Poll: Majority of Americans back Trump's impeachment 05:02

Even as they widely condemn the violence at the Capitol last week, Americans say there could be more in the days to come: 74% think it at least somewhat likely that there could be more acts of violence attempted next week, during President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.


Seventy percent of Americans don't want to see President Trump's supporters hold protests next week. But most of Mr. Trump's 2020 voters, who are less likely than Americans overall to think violence is likely next week, would favor protests. 

More immediately, a majority of Americans feel President Trump should be impeached now, as the House prepares to take up the matter. 


Democrats and independents are largely in favor of this — they feel impeachment would, among other things, "help prevent Donald Trump from running for president again," "send a signal that his behavior was wrong," and "show the world that democracy will defend itself," but they also think it could cause his supporters to protest more. They find agreement on this from 15% of Republicans, while 85% of Republicans oppose impeachment and are more likely to feel that it would create more division in the country. 


 Most Republicans believe the president did nothing wrong to deserve removal or resignation. 


These sentiments come amid very different descriptions of what took place at the Capitol, too. Eighty-seven percent of Americans disapprove of what happened, most of whom strongly disapprove. 

For most Americans (59%) and particularly Democrats and most independents, what happened is described as insurrection, and an attempt to overthrow the government. Republicans — while disapproving of it — are more apt to describe the events as a "protest that went too far" but fewer — a third — call it an insurrection.


In general, a sizable 80% of Americans, from across the political spectrum, say the use of force and violence is always unacceptable in pursuit of political goals. (It may be of little comfort to them that 20% say it can be acceptable. Few in either party feel that way, but 26% of Republicans say so, 13% of Democrats do, and those who do are more likely to be younger and male.)

Some had called on President Trump to resign, or on Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment as alternatives to impeachment. When various options were presented to respondents together, we found a similar 55% majority of Americans who would prefer that the president leave before the end of his term next week — that includes 39% who would see him removed, plus 16% who would prefer he resign.

This CBS News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,521 U.S. residents interviewed between January 11-12, 2021. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, as well as the 2020 presidential vote and registration status. The margin of error is ±2.9 points.


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