The House of Representatives has initiated impeachment proceedings only 64 times since 1789. Only 19 of those proceedings resulted in the House passage of Articles of Impeachment. Of those, only eight resulted in removal from office (all federal judges).

Two Presidents have been impeached. Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998; neither was convicted by the Senate.

The vote in the Senate for the Johnson impeachment effort was 35 to convict and 19 to acquit. One vote short of the necessary 36 votes to convict. (2/3 of those present and voting are required for conviction.) There were votes on several additional Articles of Impeachment and the vote was the same on each.

The vote in the Senate for the Clinton impeachment effort was 45 votes for conviction and 55 votes for acquittal. And so, the effort failed.

If the current impeachment effort results in a Senate trial, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts will preside. Roberts was a law clerk to Chief Justice William Rehnquist when he presided over the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton in 1998-1999.

Note: The Constitution mandates that removal from office requires the vote of two-thirds of senators present for the proceedings. Consider that.

53% of registered voters approve of the impeachment inquiry that is being conducted to determine if there is enough evidence to remove the president from office. 44% do not believe the inquiry should go forward.

49% of registered voters believes the Congress should impeach Trump and remove him from office. 46% say the Congress should not impeach Trump and he should remain in office. [NBC/WSJ 10/30/19]

42% of Americans believe the President should be impeached and removed from office – 83% of Democrats, 62% of those who have no religious preference, and 57% of suburban woman. On the other hand, 44% say he should not be impeached – 87% of Republicans, 74% of white men with no college degree, and 63% of rural dwellers. [Grinnell – Selzer 10/23/19]

In the recent ABC/WP survey, 49% of Americans thought the Congress should impeach the president while 47% believe they should not impeach him.

On the central issue of whether Trump committed an impeachable act, 55% believe he did something wrong in his dealings with Ukraine while 35% believe he did nothing wrong.

When asked whether Democrats are mainly interested in upholding the constitution or hurting Trump, 43% of respondents say they are trying to uphold the constitution and 51% say they are interested in hurting Trump politically.

Conversely, respondents believe that 55% of Republicans are most interested in helping Trump politically while 36% believe they are interested in upholding the constitution. [ABC/WP 10/30/19]

39% of U.S. adults say that members of Congress admit mistakes or take responsibility “none” of the time and another 44% of adults say they admit mistakes or take responsibility “only a little.”

4% of U.S. adults believe that members of Congress fulfill key aspects of their missions “all of the time”. An additional 39% say they fulfill their missions “some of the time”.

17% of adults believe that members of Congress act unethically “all or most of the time” and an additional 64% say they behave unethically “some of the time”.
[PEW 9/19/19]

Approval of the Congress generally remains quite bleak although there has been a modest upsurge in the last month or so.

  Approve Disapprove
Real Clear Pol. 10/29/19 23.0% 64.8%
Real Clear Pol. 9/10/19 16.6% 71.4%
Real Clear Pol. 8/6/19 17.2% 71.4%
Real Clear Pol. 6/11/19 20.0% 69.8%
Real Clear Pol. 5/14/19 22.0% 66.2%
Real Clear Pol. 4/2/19 22.8% 66.8%
Real Clear Pol. 3/26/19 20.8% 68.8%
Real Clear Pol. 2/26/19 19.4% 70.0%
Real Clear Pol. 1/1/19 19.6% 69.3%
Real Clear Pol. 1/4/18 15.8% 72.6%

Two out of three recent surveys show Democrats leading Republicans in a generic congressional ballot.

  Democrats Republicans
Economist/YouGov 10/29 47% 41%
Politico/Morning Consult 10/28 46% 38%
USAToday/Suffolk 10/26 46% 46%

[WW uses David Wasserman and the Cook Political Report for the House chart below.]

As of November 6, 2019, 27 incumbent members of the House are not seeking re-election – 8 Democrats and 19 Republicans.

The House of Representatives


  • Democrats 235
  • Republicans 199
  • Vacancies 1
  Democrats Republicans
Safe in 2020 182 160
Likely 18 22
Lean 17 12
Tossup 18 5

The Senate

[WW uses Jennifer E. Duffy of the Cook Political Report and Inside Elections for the Senate chart below. When those two organizations do not agree, WW uses Sabato as a tie breaker.]

In 2020, Republicans will be defending 23 seats while Democrats will be defending 12 seats. It is unlikely that the Republicans will lose control of the Senate in this election. There are a number of changes in the chart below since the last edition of the Watch. Jones has moved from Democratic “Toss Up” to “Lean Republican”. Ernst has moved from “Likely Republican” to “Lean Republican”. Tillis has moved from “Lean Republican” to “Toss Up”. Purdue has moved from “Lean Republican” to “Likely Republican” and a second Georgia seat has opened up with Isakson’s resignation at the end of the year.

  • Republicans 53
  • Democrats 45
  • Independents 2
  Democrats Republicans Independent
Seats not up in 2020 33 30 2
Safe in 2020 7
WY (Enzi)
Tennessee (Alexander)
Likely 3
NM (Udall)
Kansas (Roberts)
GA (Open)
Lean 1
Toss Up 0 4