Obama Approaching Nixonian Numbers on Impeachment

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July 25th, 2014 • iizthatiiz

Three months before he was forced to resign due to impending articles of impeachment, the level of public support for President Richard Nixon’s impeachment was eerily close to where Barack Obama finds himself now.  A comparison of polling data released today by CNN|ORC, to polling data released by Gallup back on 5/2/74 demonstrates just how narrow the divide actually is.


The last poll Gallup released in mid-July of ’74, showed that public levels of support against Nixon had shifted, but not dramatically. The last survey showed 46% favoring impeachment, and 38% opposed.  That is a rise of only eight percent.

One difference stands out in this comparison.  The level of “undecided’s” is markedly different.  Today’s more rigid partisan divide does not explain why so few are undecided on this issue.  A much more likely explanation is that the question of impeaching Barack Obama is a fresh issue in the minds of many Americans. Until now, impeaching Obama was a question easily dismissed. With the possibility being much more openly discussed on mainstream media and around kitchen tables, we can expect the number of undecided’s to increase, and the level of those firmly against impeachment to erode.  The CNN|ORC poll revealed that voters are very uneasy over the constitutional abuses this president has engaged in.  When asked, “Do you think Barack Obama has gone too far, has been about right, or has not gone far enough in expanding the power of the presidency and executive branch?“, the public is very nervous.


It’s a clear indication that the public is more than concerned on the issue of whether Barack Obama is abusing the constitutional limits of his office.  Obama seems to have a bedrock of 22 percent who strongly approve of his presidential actions.  Forty-five percent are already convinced.  While thirty percent are balanced on a cusp that could be easily tipped if more evidence of executive overreach is revealed.

With scandals and crises engulfing his presidency, Barack Obama may be much closer to impeachment than anyone currently realizes.  If those favoring impeachment rise a mere eight percent, he will have “achieved” the level of public outcry that brought Richard Nixon to his knees, and an early exit from the White House.


2 thoughts on “Obama Approaching Nixonian Numbers on Impeachment

  1. The correct place to look is not to Nixon, but to Clinton. If you impeach somebody when only 34% of adult agree, you shoot yourself in the foot. In mid-Sep of 1998, 27% said impeach among all adults, but among repubs 51% said to impeach. By mid-Oct of 1998, 34% said impeach among all adults (2 to 1 *against* which is not enough), but among repubs 65% said to impeach (2 to 1 for). Repub-controlled House voted to do a full inquiry during late October, and in special session during December, voted to impeach.

    Of course, in 1998 the economy was booming, and Clinton (under partisan attack) hit his *peak* approval-rating, well over 60%. Obama is currently hovering at just 40%, and if the economy declines during 2015 or 2016, will go way down. Good for repubs in 2016. If the economy does semi-okay, and a partisan House impeaches Obama (who is then saved by dems in Senate), that hurts repubs in 2016. Talk of partisan impeachment might even hurt repubs in 2014: in November 1998, repubs lost seats in the House, and failed to gain anything in the senate, which is almost unheard of in midterms of a second-term president (first time since 1822 says wikipedia).

    By the time Nixon resigned, 65% of all adults said there was enough evidence to impeach … presumably 95% of dems + 60% of indeps + 25% of repubs. In order to see Obama impeached without shooting repubs in the foot, we need 95% of repubs not 57%, and we need 60% indeps not 35%. Currently 13% of *dems* believe Obama should be impeached, which is nice, but that needs to go up to at around 25% for it to fly. In other words, we have to literally DOUBLE the current support for impeachment among dems and indeps, by showing irrefutable evidence of Obama’s abuse of power. That is not going to be easy. Note that dems did NOT need to impeach GWB in 2007, for Obama/Biden to trounce McCain/Palin in 2008 (and control enough of congress to pass Obamacare just before getting wiped in the 2010 midterms).

    Data from here —


    • I fail to see how the comparison of polling data with Clinton is at all relevant. Clinton enjoyed an approval rating of 65-75% all throughout the impeachment hearings. The public was firmly of the opinion that the scandal did not warrant impeachment. Its was clearly an overreach by a zealous House of Representitives. Obama’s approval rating is already under 40%.

      Furthermore, I must take contention with your belief that the public favored the impeachment of Richard Nixon. All polling data from that time frame indicates they clearly did not. When the Senate Select Committee to investigate Watergate began in May of ’73, virtually no one supported impeachment. A poll conducted by Gallup in June of ’73 showed that only 19% of the public favored impeachment. In survey after survey, as the Watergate investigation continued, poll after poll showed no public support for impeachment. By January of ’74, the percentages had only risen to the mid-thirties.

      We haven’t even had any Select Committee hearings yet on Obama, and already 35% want him impeached. By the spring of ’74, those favoring impeachment began to hit the forty percentiles. Even at the very end, there were only two polls that barely broke 50% favoring the impeachment of Richard Nixon. At no time did public support to impeach Nixon ever reach any kind of majority. For a third of the public to favor impeachment of Obama now, even before any hearings have begun, is an astoundingly high number. Obama is much more vulnerable than Nixon ever was.

      You can view a summary of data from dozens of polls conducted during the Watergate years at this link


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