It is common that many politicians grow more popular once they leave office. That has not been the case for former President Donald Trump.
On the eve of his impeachment trial in front of the Senate, new polling reveals that more Americans want him convicted than at any point during his first impeachment trial a year ago.
More amazingly, more want Trump barred from holding national office ever again than had even an unfavorable rating of any president after one term in office.
A new ABC News/Ipsos poll released Sunday shows that 56% of Americans are in favor of the Senate convicting Trump and barring him from holding federal office in the future. Just 43% are opposed to such an action.
This is merely the latest poll to find a clear plurality for such a measure, even after Trump left office. A Monmouth University poll taken at the end of January indicated that 57% wanted him barred from holding federal office and 52% wanted him convicted by the Senate.
Every single poll over the last month that I could find that meets CNN standards for reporting has shown that at least 56% of Americans want him to be barred from holding or seeking (depending on the question) federal office again.
That is, to put it mildly, a stunning percentage. At no point last year in the polling between Trump and now-President Joe Biden did Biden ever earn anywhere close to 56% in the national average.
This means that there are likely millions of Americans who voted for Trump last year who now want him barred from holding federal office.
Indeed, while about 80% of Republicans (depending on the polling) don’t want Trump being kept from running for or holding federal office, this still indicates a clear drop in support from last year. Trump won more than 90% of self-identified Republicans in last fall’s election.
Overall, this type of opposition to a sitting or former president after one term is historic. No other president after one term in polling history ever had an unfavorable rating or disapproval rating north of 50%. On the much harsher being barred from office question, Trump is above that milestone.
When it comes to conviction specifically, there seems to a slightly smaller majority in favor of such an action. An average of 51% of Americans in live interview polls taken since January 20 are in favor. A minority of 43% oppose this. This 8-point difference has basically stayed the same over the last month.
When the Senate acquitted Trump after his first impeachment trial in 2020, the gap between supporting and opposing impeachment was 4 points. It never got as high as the 8 points it is right now.
For a historical comparison, no other president, except for Richard Nixon, has ever had a majority of Americans say he should be impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate. It was only weeks before Nixon resigned that a clear majority believed he should be impeached and removed from office.
Of course, Trump’s not likely to be convicted (or barred from running for federal office) because his support from Republicans, though down, is still north of 80% when it comes to the Senate acquitting him. Republicans have 50 seats in the Senate and 67 votes are needed for conviction.
But Trump’s likely acquittal should not be mistaken for support among the larger electorate.
The bottom line is Trump remains quite unpopular and a lot of Americans want no part of him.