Poll: Impeachment Opposition Fades

ByAnalysis <br> By Gary Langer

July 26, 2000 -- With Bill Clinton’s job no longer on the line, public opposition to his impeachment has ebbed slightly in the last year and a half.

Six in 10 Americans still say the Senate did the right thing by allowing President Clinton to remain in office.

Slightly more people approve of the House vote to impeach — 45 percent now, compared to 40 percent at the time. Just more than four in 10 disapprove of the Senate vote to acquit; it was 39 percent at the time.

Disapproval of the impeachment vote is eight points lower than when it occurred, and approval of the Senate vote is 10 points lower. Slightly more people have no opinion.

However, these results don’t mean more people think Clinton should have been removed. Sixty percent say the Senate did the right thing by allowing him to remain in office, while 34 percent say he should have been convicted in the Senate trial. That roughly matches views at the time.

The changes in views of the House and Senate votes may have occurred simply because Clinton’s job no longer is at stake. The majority view during the controversy was that he had done wrong — but that it didn’t warrant removing him from office.

While Clinton’s job approval ratings remain credible (57 percent in May), he’s never regained his personal popularity. Just 44 percent in an ABCNEWS/Washington Post poll this week expressed a generally favorable opinion of him, 50 percent unfavorable. A backlash against his impeachment in the November 2000 elections seemed unlikely at the time, and seems equally unlikely now.

Partisans

Opinions on Clinton’s brush with political death are as partisan as ever. Six in 10 Republicans say he should have been removed from office; 78 percent of Democrats, and 59 percent of independents, say the Senate did right by acquitting him.

Methodology

This ABCNEWS.com poll was conducted by telephone in two samples of just over 1,000 interviews each, the first July 12-16 and the second July 19-23. The results have a three-point error margin. Fieldwork by ICR-International Communications Research of Media, Pa.

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