Poll: Majority of voters want Trump barred from running for office again

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A majority of Americans want President Trump to be barred from running for office in the future, according to a Harvard CAPS/Harris poll released exclusively to The Hill. 

Fifty-seven percent of U.S. voters said they believe that Trump’s single term in the White House should be both the beginning and end of his career in electoral politics. Another 43 percent said they do not want to see the soon-to-be former president banned from seeking elected office in the future.

The findings add to the complicated political outlook Trump faces after he relinquishes the White House to President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday.

Since losing reelection to Biden in November, the outgoing president has suggested privately that he may mount another campaign for the White House in 2024. He also started a leadership political action committee (PAC) that could allow him to maintain influence in GOP politics in his post-presidential life.

But despite maintaining widespread support among his most loyal supporters, Trump has found himself in a precarious position. 

He was impeached for a second time last week for his role in inciting a mob of his supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol earlier this month. If he is convicted by the Senate, lawmakers would take a separate vote on whether to bar him from running for office in the future.

At the same time, numerous polls show his approval rating on the decline after violence at the Capitol. According to the Harvard CAPS/Harris poll, Trump’s approval rating remains at a relatively steady 47 percent in spite of the insurrection. 

There is a wide disparity between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to Trump’s political future. Eighty-seven percent of self-identified Democrats believe the president should be barred from seeking elected office in the future, while 76 percent of Republicans do not want to see that restriction placed on Trump.

Still, more than one in four GOP voters — 28 percent — believe that Trump should be banned from holding elected office after he leaves the White House, suggesting the president’s support among his own party may be declining somewhat.

While there is majority support for barring Trump from seeking elected office in the future, Americans are largely split on his impeachment.

Fifty-one percent of respondents said they believe the effort to impeach Trump for a second time is “legitimate,” owing to genuine concerns that the president may have violated his oath of office. Another 49 percent, however, believe that lawmakers are “playing politics” with the impeachment proceedings. 

Similarly, 52 percent said that lawmakers should not waste their time on the matter once Trump leaves office. Forty-eight percent of respondents believe that Congress should move forward with the impeachment process even after Trump leaves the White House on Wednesday. 

An even larger majority — 58 percent — said they would rather Congress spend time tackling the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the country’s economic challenges. Conversely, 42 percent said they would prefer lawmakers move forward with the impeachment process.

Support for impeachment is highest in the event that the Senate trial occurs within the first 100 days of Biden’s presidency, with 55 percent supporting such a timeline and 45 percent opposing it. 

After the first 100 days, support for an impeachment trial in the Senate drops to 51 percent, while opposition rises 4 points to 49 percent, according to the Harvard CAPS/Harris poll.

Still, a plurality of Americans — 48 percent — believe that impeachment and removal from office is the most appropriate penalty for Trump’s conduct surrounding the riot at the Capitol. Another 31 percent said that no action should be taken at all, while only 20 percent support a formal censure by Congress.

“The post-Capitol-riot polling on Trump is mixed as he maintained a fairly high job approval rating in our poll, but 48 percent said he should be impeached vs. censure or doing nothing, and a majority favored a ban on his running in the future,” Mark Penn, the director of the Harvard CAPS/Harris poll, said. “This was seen as an appropriate penalty at this point.” 

The Harvard CAPS/Harris poll of 2,006 registered voters was conducted from Jan. 12-14. It is a collaboration of the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University and The Harris Poll.

Full poll results will be posted online later this week. The survey is an online sample drawn from the Harris Panel and weighted to reflect known demographics. As a representative online sample, it does not report a probability confidence interval.

Tags Capitol breach Capitol Riots Donald Trump Impeachment Joe Biden Mark Penn Polling Senate trial Trump approval

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