Poll: Americans Favor Bush's Impeachment If He Lied about Iraq
By a margin of 50% to 44%, Americans say that President Bush should be impeached if he lied about the war in Iraq, according to a new poll commissioned by AfterDowningStreet.org, a grassroots coalition that supports a Congressional investigation of President Bush's decision to invade Iraq in 2003.
The poll was conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs, the highly-regarded non-partisan polling company. The poll interviewed 1,001 U.S. adults on October 8-9.
The poll found that 50% agreed with the statement:
"If President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq, Congress should consider holding him accountable by impeaching him."
44% disagreed, and 6% said they didn't know or declined to answer. The poll has a +/- 3.1% margin of error.
Those who agreed with the statement were also more passionate: 39% strongly agreed, while 30% strongly disagreed.
"The results of this poll are truly astonishing," said AfterDowningStreet.org co-founder Bob Fertik. "Bush's record-low approval ratings tell just half of the story, which is how much Americans oppose Bush's policies on Iraq and other issues. But this poll tells the other half of the story - that a solid plurality of Americans want Congress to consider removing Bush from the White House."
Impeachment Supported by Majorities of Many Groups
Responses varied by political party affiliation: 72% of Democrats favored impeachment, compared to 56% of Independents and 20% of Republicans.
Responses also varied by age and income. Solid majorities of those under age 55 (54%), as well as those with household incomes below $50,000 (57%), support impeachment.
Majorities favored impeachment in the Northeast (53%), West (51%), and even the South (50%).
Support for Impeachment Surged Since June
The Ipsos poll shows a dramatic transformation in support for Bush's impeachment since late June. (This is only the second poll that has asked Americans about their support for impeaching Bush in 2005, despite his record-low approval ratings.) The Zogby poll conducted June 27-29 of 905 likely voters found that 42% agreed and 50% disagreed with a statement virtually identical to the one used by Ipsos.
After the June poll, pollster John Zogby told the Washington Post that support for impeachment "was much higher than I expected." At the time, impeachment supporters trailed opponents by 8%. Now supporters outnumber opponents by 6%, a remarkable shift of 14%.
Support for Clinton Impeachment Was Much Lower
In August and September of 1998, 16 major polls asked about impeaching President Clinton (http://democrats.com/clinton-impeachment-polls). Only 36% supported hearings to consider impeachment, and only 26% supported actual impeachment and removal. Even so, the impeachment debate dominated the news for months, and the Republican Congress impeached Clinton despite overwhelming public opposition.
Impeachment Support is Closely Related to Belief that Bush Lied about Iraq
Both the Ipsos and Zogby polls asked about support for impeachment if Bush lied about the reasons for war, rather than asking simply about support for impeachment. Pollsters predict that asking simply about impeachment without any context would produce a large number of "I don't know" responses. However, this may understate the percentage of Americans who favor Bush's impeachment for other reasons, such as his slow response to Hurricane Katrina, his policy on torture, soaring gasoline prices, or other concerns.
Other polls show a majority of U.S. adults believe that Bush did in fact lie about the reasons for war. A June 23-26 ABC/Washington Post poll found 52% of Americans believe the Bush administration "deliberately misled the public before the war," and 57% say the Bush administration "intentionally exaggerated its evidence that pre-war Iraq possessed nuclear, chemical or biological weapons."
Support for the war has dropped significantly since June, which suggests that the percentage of Americans who believe Bush lied about the war has increased.
Passion for Impeachment is Major Unreported Story
The strong support for impeachment found in this poll is especially surprising because the views of impeachment supporters are entirely absent from the broadcast and print media, and can only be found on the Internet and in street protests, including the large anti-war rally in Washington on September 24.
The lack of coverage of impeachment support is due in part to the fact that not a single Democrat in Congress has called for impeachment, despite considerable grassroots activism by groups like Democrats.com (http://democrats.com/impeach).
"We will, no doubt, see an increase in activism following this poll," said David Swanson, co-founder of AfterDowningStreet.org. "But will we see an increase in media coverage? The media are waiting for action in Congress. Apparently it's easier to find and interview one of the 535 members of Congress than it is to locate a representative of the half of the country that wants the President impeached if he lied about the war. The media already accepts that Bush did lie about the war. We know this because so many editors and pundits told us that the Downing Street Memo was 'old news.' What we need now is journalism befitting a democracy, journalism that goes out and asks people what they really think about their government, especially George Bush."
The passion of impeachment supporters is directly responsible for the Ipsos poll. After the Zogby poll in June, activists led by Democrats.com urged all of the major polling organizations to include an impeachment question in their upcoming polls. But none of the polling organizations were willing to do so for free, so on September 30, AfterDowningStreet.org posted a request for donations to fund paid polls (http://afterdowningstreet.org/polling). As of October 10, 330 individuals had contributed $8,919 in small donations averaging $27 each.
AfterDowningStreet.org has commissioned a second poll which is expected soon, and will continue to urge all polling organizations to include the impeachment question in their regular polls. If they do not, AfterDowningStreet.org will continue to commission regular impeachment polls.
1. AfterDowningStreet.org is a rapidly growing coalition of veterans' groups, peace groups, and political activist groups that was created on May 26, 2005, following the publication of the Downing Street Memos in London's Sunday Times on May 1. The coalition is urging Congress to begin a formal investigation into whether President Bush committed impeachable offenses in connection with the Iraq war.
3. Zogby asked: "If President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq, Congress should consider holding him accountable
by impeaching him through impeachment."
4. Pollsters have offered various reasons for refusing to poll on impeachment. For example, Gallup said it would do so "if, and when, there is some discussion of that possibility by congressional leaders, and/or if commentators begin discussing it in the news media."