House Republicans kick off their impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden on Thursday, but a majority of voters do not believe the process should move forward.
In a new national NBC News poll, 56% of registered voters say Congress should not hold hearings to start the process of removing Biden from office, while 39% say it should.
The House Oversight Committee is gathering for its first hearing in the inquiry, which Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., announced two weeks ago to investigate Biden’s ties to his son Hunter’s business dealings, probing what McCarthy described as “allegations of abuse of power, obstruction and corruption.”
McCarthy’s own conference was divided over the impeachment inquiry, and so are voters — who are also, unsurprisingly, divided along party lines when it comes to proceedings aimed at removing Biden from office.
An overwhelming majority of Democrats (88%) oppose the hearings, while 73% of Republicans support them. Six in 10 independents oppose the hearings, and 29% say Congress should move forward with them.
The survey also finds that voter sentiments about impeachment mirror those surrounding possible proceedings to remove President Donald Trump in December 2017, amid the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll conducted at the time found 54% of voters opposed those hearings and 42% supported them.
Unlike in the Trump era, the prospect of Biden’s impeachment appears to be less politically motivating for voters.
Half of voters say their members of Congress’ votes to impeach and remove Biden from office “would make no difference either way” in terms of how they might vote in their local congressional races next year. Back in December 2018, 34% said their lawmakers’ votes on whether to impeach Trump would not make a difference.
Almost a third of voters (31%) say they would be less likely to vote for a lawmaker who votes to impeach Biden, while 18% say they would be more likely.
In fact, Biden’s impeachment appears more energizing for Democrats than Republicans, with 60% of GOP voters saying such a vote would not influence their support.
Just 35% of GOP voters say support for impeachment would make them more likely to support a lawmaker. But 62% of Democrats say voting to impeach Biden would make them less likely to support a member of Congress.
“For whatever reason, it’s not generating the same political heat, even amongst Republicans, to actually say they’d be more likely to vote for a candidate on impeachment,” said GOP pollster Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies, who conducted the poll with Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt of Hart Research Associates.
The national NBC News poll 1,000 registered voters — including 848 contacted by cellphone — was conducted Sept. 15-19. It has an overall margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.