In the wake of revelations in John Bolton’s book that President Trump directly tied Ukraine aid to investigations of the Bidens, pressure is mounting on Republican senators to call new witnesses in Trump’s impeachment trial. From a constitutional perspective, that would certainly be progress. But the focus on witnesses obscures the more fundamental question: Should Trump be convicted and removed from office?
Yes, say Americans, by a five-point margin, according to FiveThirtyEight.com’s average of polls on impeachment and removal. That support for conviction and removal is being driven by women and the intensity of women’s negative views of Trump’s actions and job performance.
A CNN poll released last week shows that nearly two-thirds of women think that Trump abused the powers of the presidency “to obtain an improper personal political benefit and to list foreign assistance in an election campaign.” Likewise, 71 percent of women favor calling new witnesses in the Senate trial and 61 percent disapprove of the way Trump is handling the impeachment proceedings. Roughly six out of ten women disapprove of Trump’s job performance, with a majority (52%) registering strong disapproval. Fifty-nine percent of women nationally—as well as 56 percent in 15 battleground states—think that Trump should be removed from office.
CNN’s polling is consistent with a number of recent surveys on Americans’ views on impeachment. Ms. analyzed five of these surveys (conducted by Pew, Politico/Morning Consult, SurveyUSA, Monmouth and the CNN poll above) that report breakdowns by gender. On average, women favor Trump’s removal by a margin of 16 points, compared to men who oppose removal by an average margin of 8 points. The gender gap on removing Trump ranges from 11 to 21 points in polls reporting statistically significant differences between men and women’s opinion.
Views on Trump’s removal, unsurprisingly given the nation’s current polarization, largely mirror assessments of Trump’s job performance. Less than a third of American women approve of how Trump is doing his job as president. Six out of ten women disapprove of Trump, with the majority of these disapproving strongly. By comparison, only 45 percent of men disapprove of Trump, making for a gender gap of 15 points.
While Republican Senators contort themselves to give the appearance of doing their jobs without provoking Trump’s wrath, they’d be wise to take notice of public opinion. That is, if they have any desire to win over women voters in November.