(PRWEB) January 20, 2006 -- By a margin of 52 % to 43 %, Americans want Congress to consider impeaching President Bush if he wiretapped American citizens without a judge's approval, according to a new poll commissioned by AfterDowningStreet.org, a grassroots coalition that supports a Congressional investigation of President Bush's decision to invade Iraq in 2003.
The poll was conducted by Zogby International, the highly-regarded non-partisan polling company. The poll interviewed 1,216 U.S. adults from January 9-12.
The poll found that 52 % agreed with the statement:
"If President Bush wiretapped American citizens without the approval of a judge, do you agree or disagree that Congress should consider holding him accountable through impeachment."
43 % disagreed, and 6 % said they didn't know or declined to answer. The poll has a +/- 2.9 % margin of error.
"The American people are not buying Bush's outrageous claim that he has the power to wiretap American citizens without a warrant. Americans believe terrorism can be fought without turning our own government into Big Brother," said AfterDowningStreet.org co-founder Bob Fertik.
Recently White House spokesman Scott McClellan cited a Rasmussen poll that found 64 % believe the NSA "should be allowed to intercept telephone conversations between terrorism suspects." Of course, that is exactly what Congress authorized when it created the FISA courts to issue special expedited secret warrants for terrorism suspects. But Bush defied the FISA law and authorized warrantless wiretaps of Americans, which has outraged Americans to the point that a majority believe Congress should consider Bush's impeachment.
"Bush admits he ordered illegal warantless wiretapping, but says it began in response to 9/11 and was limited to a small number of calls to or from Al Qaeda," Fertik said. "But recent reports suggest wiretapping affected a much larger number of Americans, and a report in Friday's Truthout says the wiretapping began before 9/11."
"The upcoming Senate hearings on White House wiretapping could be as dramatic as the Watergate hearings in 1973. A majority of Americans have already believe Congress should look into grounds for impeachment, yet we have only seen the tip of the iceberg in the Corporate Media. If Bush ordered warrantless wiretapping long before the terrorist attack on 9/11, then Americans will realize that George Bush came into office determined to shred the Constitution and take away our rights," Fertik said.
Impeachment Supported by Majorities of Many Groups
Responses to the Zogby poll varied by political party affiliation: 66 % of Democrats favored impeachment, as did 59 % of Independents, and even 23 % of Republicans. By ideology, impeachment was supported by Progressives (90 %), Libertarians (71 %), Liberals (65 %), and Moderates (58 %), but not by Conservatives (33 %) or Very Conservatives (28 %).
Responses also varied by age, sex, race, and religion. 74 % of those 18-29 favored impeachment, 47 % of those 31-49, 49 % of those 50-64, and 40 % of those over 65. 55 % of women favored impeachment, compared to 49 % of men. Among African Americans, 75 % favored impeachment, as did 56 % of Hispanics and 47 % of whites. Majorities of Catholics, Jews, and Others favored impeachment, while 44 % of Protestants and 38 % of Born Again Christians did so.
Majorities favored impeachment in every region: the East (54 %), South (53 %) and West (52 %), and Central states (50 %). In large cities, 56 % support impeachment; in small cities, 58 %; in suburbs, 46 %; in rural areas, 46 %.
Support for Clinton Impeachment Was Much Lower
In August and September of 1998, 16 major polls asked about impeaching President Clinton. Only 36 % supported hearings to consider impeachment, and only 26 % supported actual impeachment and removal. Even so, the impeachment debate dominated the news for months, and the Republican Congress impeached Clinton despite overwhelming public opposition.
Passion for Impeachment is Major Unreported Story
The strong support for impeachment found in this poll is especially surprising because the views of impeachment supporters are entirely absent from the broadcast and print media, and can only be found on the Internet and in street protests. The lack of coverage of impeachment support is due in part to the fact that not a single Democrat in Congress has called for impeachment, despite considerable grassroots activism by groups like Democrats.com
The passion of impeachment supporters is directly responsible for the four polls commissioned by After Downing Street. After the Zogby poll in June, activists led by Democrats.com urged all of the major polling organizations to include an impeachment question in their upcoming polls. But none of the polling organizations were willing to do so for free, so on September 30, AfterDowningStreet.org posted a request for donations to fund paid polls.
People responded with small donations (on average $27) which quickly added up to over $10,000. After Downing Street has spent a portion of that money on the Ipsos Poll and the two Zogby Polls.