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- Presidents Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, and Donald Trump have all faced impeachment inquiries.
- Their Gallup approval ratings during the investigations tell three very different stories.
- By the time Nixon resigned to avoid being impeached, he was sitting at some of his lowest approval ratings ever.
- Clinton was impeached and then acquitted, and by then he had better approval ratings than when he was first elected.
- Trump’s been impeached, and his Senate trial is almost over. His ratings, although lower than other recent presidents, are currently the highest he’s ever had.
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A president’s approval ratings say it all.
While Nixon resigned before he was impeached, the Senate acquitted Clinton after the House impeached him.
Their approval ratings help explain why.
There were three beginnings – the Watergate break-in, Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky, and Trump’s phone call with Ukraine. So far, there have been two different endings – Nixon resigned before he could be impeached. Clinton was impeached, but was then acquitted.
How Republicans and Democrats felt about each president during the impeachment inquiries has been remarkably different. Over the course of Nixon’s investigation, which at points 80% of Americans watched during primetime TV, Nixon fell far from favor. By the time he resigned, he was sitting at some of his lowest approval ratings ever.
By the time Clinton emerged victorious after a five-week Senate trial, he had a better approval rating than when he was first elected.
In late October, just before Trump’s televised hearings, which had far less TV viewers than Nixon’s hearings (but more streamers), the 45th president’s ratings were holding steady, according to a poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
He was impeached on December 18, and his Senate trial is now nearly over. The final vote is expected on Wednesday. It looks like he’ll be acquitted, based on the Senate’s Republican majority. There are 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats, and two independents who caucus with the Democrats. It takes 67 votes to convict him.
In Trump’s latest Gallup poll, taken between January 16-29, his approval ratings were 49% – the highest he’s ever had. Alongside that, 94% of Republicans approved of the job he’s doing in office, compared to 42% of independents, and 7% of Democrats.
Here’s how the approval ratings for Nixon, Clinton, and Trump changed by party throughout their presidencies and impeachment inquiries, according to Gallup.
- Shayanne Gal/Business Insider