Public opinion and the impeachment hearing


SAVANNAH, Ga (WSAV) – In modern times we’ve seen the public phase of the impeachment process go both ways. One former president stepped down and the other retained the office.

While lawmakers in the House and Senate have the final say,  the court of public opinion holds some power.

Political science experts point to the impeachment proceedings against Richard Nixon in the early 1970’s.

As the televised coverage was broadcast, evidence in the case became public knowledge.

Nixon chose to resign rather than face the impeachment vote.

“Nixon wasn’t removed because nobody, he quit before the process got to a house vote.  But it changed opinions so much that he, ah left office,” explained Dr. Bruce Mallard, a political science assistant professor with Savannah State University.

For President Bill Clinton, the impeachment vote occured, but the Senate did not vote to remove him over his lie about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky.

Public opinion figured heavily for Clinton as well as Nixon.

It could make a difference in the Trump impeachment inquiry.

“It all depends on where we’re at with this Congress and where the political climate leans in the jury of public opinion,” said Ryan Schmidt with the Bowen Law Group.

“There’s some important information to be learned here if you’ll just open yourself up to, to seeing it.  Make your own decision. You don’t have to read Twitter. You don’t have to hear the interpretation by elected officials,” said Dr. Mallard.

The latest polls indicate the Presidents approval ratings have not changed much since the impeachment proceedings started.

Four leading polls show roughly47- percent approving of the President and 53-percent disapproving. 

Everyone we spoke with say they have not changed their minds about the president.

There is criticism that much of what’s been heard is second and third hand information.

A witness who did hear the controversial call to the Ukraine will testify later this week.

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