Sarah Palin may want Obama impeached, but most Americans don't

Establishment Republicans are no fans of President Obama, but many are not eager to rile independents and rouse the Democratic base with impeachment proceedings just before midterm elections.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
President Obama speaks about the economy and talking cars of the future at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center in McLean, Va., Tuesday. Despite disaffection with the president's handling of the country, there's little interest among Americans or even on Capitol Hill in impeaching him.

Why don’t more top Republicans talk about impeaching President Obama? To see why House Speaker John Boehner (R) of Ohio and others believe it would be bad politics, just look at two new national polls, whose results indicate that impeachment talk could hurt the GOP as it tries to regain control of the Senate in the 2014 midterms.

For instance, a new Rasmussen survey finds nearly twice as many voters oppose as support impeaching Mr. Obama and removing him from office. The split is 58 percent to 32 percent, with 10 percent not sure.

A majority (56 percent) say it would be bad for the Republican Party to even launch an impeachment effort, according to Rasmussen. Fifty-five percent say it would be better to elect an opposition Congress to counter Obama’s actions.

A Huffington Post/YouGov survey, released this week, has broadly similar results. While Americans tend to believe that Obama has exercised authority beyond the constitutional limits for the executive branch, only 32 percent believe he should be removed from office, according to YouGov results. Sixty-eight percent say he should not be impeached and booted from the Oval Office.        

One striking aspect of both these polls is the partisan split. Fifty-eight percent of Republicans want Obama impeached, according to Rasmussen’s results, while 87 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of independents want him to remain in office. YouGov’s numbers are close to those.

Given the support for impeachment among Republicans, why doesn’t the House GOP at least give it a try?

For one thing, many top establishment Republicans, for all they dislike Obama’s actions in office, don’t see that he has committed impeachable offenses. For another, they know they need independent voters – and maybe some disaffected conservative Democrats in purple states – to win enough seats to retake the Senate in November. Mounting an impeachment effort could turn off those voters, while angering the Democratic base and driving more true-blue Democrats to the polls. Given the gravity of impeachment, it could split the nation into angry partisan camps, as during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.

At their monthly “Conversations with Conservatives” luncheon, six of the House GOP’s leading conservatives rejected impeachment for these and other reasons, writes Sarah Mimms Tuesday in The National Journal.

“If you want to help the Democrats keep control of the Senate, this would be the right way to do that,” said Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R) of Kansas, referring to an impeachment push.

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