LOS ANGELES - Most Americans were shaken after last week’s U.S. Capitol riot, and more than half of voters want President Donald Trump removed from office before the end of his term, according to a recent Quinnipiac University poll.
Quinnipiac released the poll results Monday, revealing that 74% of voters believe American democracy is under threat and 52% of voters want Trump to leave the White House.
According to the poll, Trump’s approval rating in the wake of the Capitol riot tied his all-time low from August of 2017.
Trump received a 33% job approval rating, which is a substantial drop from the 44% he received in December of 2020 when delayed signing a $900 trillion COVID-19 relief bill.
Voters were divided on whether they think Trump is mentally stable. Forty-five percent said he is mentally stable, while 48% said he is not mentally stable.
Removing Trump from office
"A slight majority, 52 - 45 percent, say President Trump should be removed from office. Voters also say 53 - 43 percent that he should resign as president," according to the Quinnipiac poll.
"A majority of Americans hold President Trump responsible for the chaos at the Capitol, and a slight majority believe that he should be removed from office," Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy added.
House lawmakers plan to vote on impeaching Trump for a second time this week. Trump faces an "incitement of insurrection" charge.
"President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government," reads the four-page House impeachment resolution. "He will remain a threat to national security, democracy, and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office."
US President Donald Trump speaks to supporters from The Ellipse near the White House on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC.
Several GOP lawmakers also laid the blame for the violent siege of the U.S. Capitol on Trump. One GOP senator who has split with Trump in the past called on him to resign and questioned whether she would stay in the party.
"I want him out," Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska told The Anchorage Daily News. "He has caused enough damage."
Some GOP lawmakers stopped short of endorsing impeachment. House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy said in a letter to colleagues that "impeachment at this time would have the opposite effect of bringing our country together."
Trump still has supporters, especially among the many rank-and-file Republican voters and conservative activists beyond Washington, including in the Republican National Committee.
"The vast majority of the committee is in full denial," said Republican National Committee member Bill Palatucci, of New Jersey, who attended a RNC breakfast in Florida last Thursday. "They’re willing to condemn the violence, but without any reference to the president’s role in any of it."
U.S. Capitol riot
A majority of voters, 56%, said they hold Trump responsible for the storming of the U.S. Capitol by a violent mob of his supporters Wednesday. Forty-two percent said they do not hold Trump responsible.
Before the violent riot, Trump held a rally near the White House, during which he encouraged thousands of his supporters to "fight like hell" and march to the Capitol, where lawmakers were in the process of certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College votes after he won the 2020 election.
The pro-Trump mob overpowered police, broke through security lines and windows and rampaged through the Capitol, forcing lawmakers to scatter and take shelter as they were finalizing Biden’s victory over Trump in the Electoral College.
Vice President Mike Pence, who was in attendance to certify the electoral votes, was also taken to shelter somewhere inside the Capitol as the building was ransacked.
Five people died, including USCP Officer Brian Sicknick, who passed away Thursday night from injuries suffered during the riot after he was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher. A woman from California was shot to death by Capitol Police and three other people died after medical emergencies during the chaos.
Authorities on Sunday announced the death of 51-year-old Capitol Police officer Howard Liebengood. Two people familiar with the matter said the officer’s death was an apparent suicide. Liebengood had been assigned to the Senate Division and was with the department since 2005. He is the son of a former Senate sergeant-at-arms.
Police Chief Steven Sund, Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger and House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving resigned in the wake of the riot.
In the Quinnipiac poll, nearly 71% of voters said that law enforcement officials did not do everything they could to prevent the initial storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, while 19% said they did.
Democracy under threat
"Voters say 60 - 34 percent that President Trump is undermining, not protecting, democracy," the poll revealed. "Democrats say 95 - 4 percent and independents say 64 - 28 percent that Trump is undermining democracy, while Republicans say 73 - 20 percent that Trump is protecting democracy."
"When it comes to whether American democracy is under threat, both Republicans and Democrats see a raging five-alarm fire, but clearly disagree on who started it," Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy said.
Several top Trump administration officials, including Cabinet members, resigned from their posts in the days following the attack on the Capitol.
President Donald Trump’s acting head of the Department of Homeland Security abruptly resigned Monday. Wolf, who had been serving in an acting capacity since November 2019 and was never confirmed by the Senate, said he was compelled to leave by "recent events," including court rulings that found he could not legally hold the position. He did not specify the other events or cite other factors.
Wolf condemned the violent attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters, calling it "tragic and sickening." He also said then he would stay on at DHS until the end of the administration to ensure a smooth transition and to help the department stay focused on the threats facing the nation.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao suddenly resigned in the aftermath of the pro-Trump violence.
Among the others who have resigned are: Stephanie Grisham, first lady Melania Trump's chief of staff and a former White House press secretary; deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger; White House social secretary Rickie Niceta; deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews; and Ryan Tully, senior director for European and Russian affairs at the National Security Council.
The Quinnipiac poll showed 58% of voters believe there was no widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election, while 37% believe there was widespread voter fraud.
Both state and federal election officials, including Trump’s own Attorney General Bill Barr, said that there is no evidence to suggest that there was widespread voter fraud that would have affected the outcome of the election.
"Republicans say 73 - 21 percent that they believe there was widespread voter fraud. Democrats say 93 - 5 percent and independents say 60 - 36 percent that they do not believe there was widespread voter fraud," according to the poll.
Trump maintained, falsely, that he won the 2020 election instead of Biden, claiming the election was stolen, rigged and unjust without any credible evidence. None of his lawsuits to overturn the election results in his favor have prevailed in court.
Biden uniting the country
According to the poll, 31% of voters said they think Biden will be able to unite the country and 56% said they expect partisan divisions to remain the same as they are today. Fourteen percent said they were unsure.
Biden has framed his presidential campaign as a response to Trump, pledging to "restore the soul" of America. He has said he decided to seek the White House after watching Trump say there were "very fine people on both sides" of a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The theme of Biden’s inauguration will be "America United," and will feature appearances by three former presidents, according to his inaugural committee. Trump has stated that he will not attend.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.