Sarah Palin raised eyebrows last week when she called on Congress to impeach President Barack Obama, but a new HuffPost/YouGov poll shows that the former Alaska governor is not alone. A third of Americans, and two-thirds of Republicans, think Obama should be impeached.
Among all Americans, those saying Congress would not be justified in beginning impeachment proceedings against Obama outnumber those who think it would be justified, 44 percent to 35 percent, while 21 percent said they weren't sure.
The question drew a huge partisan divide. Sixty-eight percent of Republicans said beginning the impeachment process would be justified, while only 8 percent of Democrats said the same. Independents were divided, 37 percent to 37 percent, while 26 percent said they weren't sure. Overall, 26 percent of non-Republicans said impeachment would be justified.
Impeachment was described in the poll as "the first step in the constitutional process for removing a president from office, in which possible crimes are investigated and charges are made." A HuffPost/YouGov poll experiment conducted last year found that support for Obama's impeachment varied depending on question wording, but that at least half of Republicans said they would support his impeachment no matter how the question was worded.
Obama isn't the only recent president to face calls for impeachment from members of the other party. A 2007 Gallup poll asked the same question about George W. Bush, and found that 36 percent of Americans, including 58 percent of Democrats, 35 percent of independents and 9 percent of Republicans, said there was justification for Congress to begin impeachment proceedings.
The 1998 impeachment of Bill Clinton also divided Americans along party lines. A 2001 ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 77 percent of Republicans and 45 percent of independents, but only 17 percent of Democrats, thought the House of Representatives made the right decision when it impeached Clinton.
The Gallup and ABC News/Washington Post polls were accessed using the Roper Center's iPoll database.
In the new HuffPost/YouGov poll, 49 percent of Americans said Obama had exceeded the limits of authority placed on the president by the Constitution, while 34 percent said he had not. Eighty-nine percent of Republicans, 52 percent of independents and 16 percent of Democrats said Obama had exceeded the limits of his authority.
The HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted July 9-11 among 1,000 U.S. adults using a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population. Factors considered include age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, number of children, voter registration, time and location of Internet access, interest in politics, religion and church attendance.
The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov's nationally representative opinion polling. Data from all HuffPost/YouGov polls can be found here.
This story has been updated to include the percentage of non-Republicans who said impeachment would be justified.
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