BY: KENDALL KARSON, ABC NEWS
(WASHINGTON) — A majority of the country believes President Donald Trump should be removed before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in on Jan. 20 and two-thirds hold him accountable for the violent insurrection on Capitol Hill, according to an ABC News/Ipsos poll released Sunday.
In the new survey, which was conducted by Ipsos in partnership with ABC News using Ipsos’ Knowledge Panel, 56% of Americans think the sitting commander-in-chief should be removed from office before the official transfer of power in less than two weeks, while 43% say he should not. Among those who say Trump should not be removed immediately, nearly half (45%) nevertheless say his actions this week were wrong.
Ousting the current president before his term expires splits Americans along partisan lines, with 94% of Democrats and only 13% of Republicans supporting the move. A majority of independents — 58% — also back removing him.
The end of Trump’s turbulent tenure has been marred by chaos. Earlier this week, throngs of pro-Trump loyalists, spurred by the outgoing president at his “Save America Rally,” besieged the U.S. Capitol complex — overpowering police blockades, breaking windows and ransacking the halls and offices.
In the aftermath of the riot on Capitol Hill, Trump is facing pressure to resign, even from within his own ranks — as sources tell ABC News that his Cabinet and allies have discussed invoking the 25th Amendment, although it’s unclear how extensive these conversations have been or whether Vice President Mike Pence supports such action.
Trump is also on the brink of being impeached for a second time as House Democrats ready impeachment charges that are expected to be introduced early this week.
At least one Senate Republican, Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, said she wants Trump “out” in an interview with The Anchorage Daily News, and Pennsylvania GOP Sen. Pat Toomey told Fox News this weekend that he thinks Trump “committed impeachable offenses,” before adding, “I don’t know what is going to land on the Senate floor.” Neither have endorsed the possibility of impeachment proceedings, yet.
Sixty-seven percent of Americans lay blame squarely at Trump’s feet for the Wednesday riot and the unprecedented breach that led to the death of five, including a Capitol police officer who succumbed to injuries suffered during the attack. This includes 52% who believe he shoulders a great deal of the responsibility. Only 15% of those polled say that he bears none of the blame.
The assault on the Capitol came as a joint session of Congress was formalizing Biden’s Electoral College victory, which the president has assailed and challenged with unfounded claims of fraud over the last two months. More than two-thirds of Americans are not in agreement with the president, saying they believe Biden’s victory was legitimate. Still, among those still refusing to accept Trump’s loss nearly 3 in 4 are Republicans (73%). Meanwhile, overwhelming majorities of Democrats (99%) and independents (75%) think Biden’s victory was legitimate.
The poll also asked who among a range of prominent political figures — such as Pence and Utah Sen. Mitt Romney — Americans trust to safeguard democracy.
With Biden set to take the helm in the White House in 10 days, after four years of a presidency animated by deep divisions, he is the only one with majority support on that question (53%). Still, reflecting the political chasm he will seek to overcome, there are divisions in how much Democrats (94%) and Republicans (14%) trust the incoming president to protect democracy.
Overall, Biden fares far better than Trump and congressional Republicans, with only 30% saying they trust the president to defend democracy and 31% saying the same of Republicans in Congress.
For Pence, who landed in the center of Trump’s crosshairs for rejecting his efforts to subvert the electoral process, there is slightly more confidence in him than the president when it comes to safeguarding democracy. After Trump relentlessly pressured an unabiding Pence to use his ceremonial role presiding over Congress’ counting of electoral votes to hand the president a victory, nearly 4 in 10 Americans (39%) say they trust the vice president with protecting democracy.
One of the least-trusted figures is Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who helped spearhead a failed effort to contest electoral votes in a slate of battleground states, including Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania. An overwhelming 71% of Americans say they don’t trust him to defend democracy, including 47% who don’t trust him at all.
For Romney, the Utah senator who harshly rebuffed the efforts by Cruz and a handful of other senators to try to derail Biden’s win, 41% trust him to preserve democracy.
Among Republican respondents, Pence performs best, with 73% trusting him, compared to 71% for Trump, 57% for Cruz, 38% for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and only 25% for Romney. In a surprising turn, more than twice as many Democrats — 55% — put their faith in Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee.
Congressional leaders in both parties also face a trust deficit among Americans. McConnell ranks the lowest of all the individuals included in the survey question about shielding American democracy at 22%. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is trusted by almost twice as many Americans as McConnell, with 40%.
Between congressional Democrats and Republicans, more Democrats say they trust the members who represent them in the House and Senate than Republicans. Nearly 9 in 10 Democrats (89%) believe in congressional Democrats to protect democracy, while 71% of Republicans say the same about members of the GOP in Congress.
The Supreme Court is most trusted with 60% saying they have a great deal or good amount of trust in the highest court in the land to protect democracy.
This ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs’ KnowledgePanel® Jan. 8 to 9, 2021, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 570 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 4.7 points, including the design effect. Partisan divisions are 30%-27%-36%, Democrats-Republicans-independents. See the poll’s topline results and details on the methodology here.
ABC News’ John Santucci, Katherine Faulders, Emily Shapiro, Jonathan Karl and Benjamin Siegel contributed to this report.
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