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Plurality of Americans Support Removing Trump from Presidential Ballots Due to Insurrection Clause, According to New National UMass Amherst Poll

Nearly three-quarters of respondents – and nearly one-third of Republicans – also say that Justice Thomas should recuse himself from cases related to the 2020 election because of his wife’s reported ties to efforts to overturn the election’s results

Topline results and crosstabs for the poll can be found at

umass poll

With the Supreme Court scheduled to hear arguments regarding states’ efforts to remove former President Trump from 2024 presidential ballots due to his ties to efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election and the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, a new national University of Massachusetts Amherst Poll has found that a plurality of Americans support removing Trump from their states’ ballots.

The poll of 1,064 respondents, which surveyed respondents’ views on a number of issues regarding Jan. 6, the judicial perils facing Trump and the hypothetical impeachment President Joe Biden, was conducted Jan. 25-30.

Tatishe Nteta
Tatishe Nteta

“With the Supreme Court poised to consider whether states can declare former President Donald Trump ineligible to be on their presidential ballots based on their interpretation of the 14th Amendment, it is unclear whether the court will decide for or against former President Trump,” says Tatishe Nteta, provost professor of political science at UMass Amherst and director of the poll. “However, if the court’s decision is in part influenced by public opinion, the news is not good for the former president, as a plurality of voters (41%) believe that Trump should be removed from their state’s ballot in 2024 for his role in aiding and abetting the insurrection on January 6. Unsurprisingly, given the political stakes of this decision, we find a stark partisan divide on this question, with 72% of Democrats supporting Trump’s removal and 77% of Republicans opposing his removal.”

“A striking 58% of Americans believe that Trump is probably or definitely guilty of illegally attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election,” Jesse Rhodes, professor of political science at UMass Amherst and co-director of the poll, notes from the poll’s findings. “More than half of Americans think that Trump is guilty of crimes relating to efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, but only 41% want Trump to be removed from their state’s presidential ballot under the 14th Amendment. So, what’s going on? It’s likely that some Americans believe that rather than being removed by the courts or election administrators, Trump should be repudiated by the people through elections. It’s also quite possible that some Americans fear that trying to remove Trump from the ballot will turn him into a political martyr, inflaming his supporters and increasing his political influence.”

jesse rhodes
Jesse Rhodes

“The Supreme Court’s decision on whether Trump can be removed from the ballot is going to upset large groups of Americans regardless of the outcome,” says Raymond La Raja, professor of political science at UMass Amherst and co-director of the poll, but he also notes a gender split among respondents’ calls to remove the former president from the ballot.

“Given Trump’s appointment of Supreme Court justices who voted down Roe v. Wade, it is not surprising that more women than men do not want to see Trump on the ballot,” La Raja says. “The gap is not especially large but it’s there – 44% of women support removing him compared to 38% of men. Men are much more likely to oppose taking Trump of the ballot.”

Thomas Recusal?

A key point of contention in this week’s hearing is the likely participation of Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, whose wife, Ginni, has been reported to have emailed state legislators in a number of states asking them to overturn the results of the 2020 election and to have urged former President Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, to continue efforts to overturn the election. The new UMass Amherst Poll asked respondents about their views on whether Clarence Thomas should therefore recuse himself from cases relating to the 2020 election because of his wife’s alleged actions.

“While the ethical questions concerning Thomas swirl,” Nteta says, “the associate justice has given no indications that he plans to remove himself from these cases. However, in doing so he would be in direct opposition to the public’s wishes, as 64% of the public believes that Thomas should remove himself, with close to 4 in 10 stating that he ‘definitely should remove himself.’ This sentiment is shared across gender, generational, class and racial divides with the lone holdouts being Republicans, conservatives and Trump voters, groups that have long revered and supported Justice Thomas.”

Even so, nearly one-third of GOP voters (32%) and 3 in 10 conservatives (30%) still agree that Thomas should step aside from January 6-related cases.

“Whether Thomas will recuse himself is still left to be seen,” Nteta says, “but what is clear is that the public strongly believes that the long-serving justice should do so.”

January 6 Participants

The UMass Amherst Poll also asked respondents about their views on the ongoing prosecution of those who participated in storming the Capitol on January 6.

“A majority also believes that authorities should continue to investigate, arrest and charge those who may have been involved in the January 6 attack on the Capitol,” Rhodes says of the survey’s findings. “Although some try to cast the prosecution of those involved in the Capitol attack as a partisan issue, the reality is that a majority of Americans wants to hold those responsible accountable for their behavior.”

Nteta notes, however, that the percentage of those calling for continued prosecutions has fallen since the UMass Amherst Poll started asking about the issue

Ray La Raja
Ray La Raja

“Are Americans ready to turn the page?” Nteta wonders. “As the Department of Justice investigates, indicts, charges and convicts those who participated in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, the enthusiasm for these efforts appear to be waning as 39% of Americans express strong support for bringing those most responsible for the mayhem and violence seen that day in the halls of Congress to justice, a drop of 14 percentage points since the question was asked in April of 2021. However, a plurality of Americans (42%) view the sentences that have been given out – which range from a few days to 22 years in federal prison – as about right, and a strong majority (62%) oppose any effort to pardon the insurrectionists, an idea floated by Trump during his 2024 presidential campaign.”

Nteta also turns the question back on the central figure of the issue – Trump himself – noting that the former president is finding the judicial vise beginning to close upon him, regardless of his denials of responsibility that day.

“The courts are beginning to indicate that they are not buying what the former president is selling,” Nteta says. “For years Trump has denied any and all culpability for the events of January 6, and has decried federal efforts to prosecute him for his purported role in denying the veracity of the 2020 election as part of a political witch hunt. However, in recent days, he has experienced a significant legal defeat as the Washington, D.C., Circuit Court unanimously ruled that he is not immune from prosecution for crimes committed during his presidency, clearing the way for Trump to stand trial in the federal election interference case being prosecuted by the Department of Justice’s special counsel, Jack Smith.”

Nteta points to the poll’s results indicating that Trump’s core constituencies not only continue to defend the former president, but may also be the key to his avoiding being the recipient of guilty verdicts in court.

“If public opinion is any indication of Trump’s prospects in front of a jury of his peers, the news does not look good for the former president as close to 6 in 10 Americans – and majorities across gender, generations, class and racial divides – believe that Trump is guilty of conspiring to overturn the 2020 election,” he says. “While hope for a favorable decision for Trump at this moment seems unlikely, large swaths of Republicans (82%), Trump 2020 voters (87%), and conservatives (81%) all see Trump as innocent, leading Trump to hold out hope that a jury of his peers includes his most ardent supporters.”

A Biden Impeachment?

La Raja says that the new UMass Amherst Poll shows little appetite among the broad American electorate to impeach President Biden, regardless of partisan calls to bring the commander-in-chief to trial before the Senate.

Alex Theodoridis
Alex Theodoridis

“The vast majority of Americans don’t think the U.S. House will impeach Joe Biden, and a significant majority – 59% – don’t think he should be impeached,” La Raja says. “Those who want him impeached cite corruption linked to his son Hunter or his failure to secure the border, and they tend to be white, lower income and Republican supporters.

Our recent poll shows that 3 in 4 Republican voters think Biden should be impeached, even though Congress so far has not found evidence of impeachable offenses. Even if much of this is just cheerleading for their own side, it cannot be good for the country if every successive president is believed to have committed ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ just because they are in the other party.”

“Fewer than 30% of Republicans recognize Biden’s 2020 election as legitimate, and three-quarters say the House of Representative should impeach Biden,” says Alexander Theodoridis, associate professor of political science at UMass Amherst and co-director of the poll. “Only 22% support law enforcement efforts to bring those who participated in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol to justice. Two-thirds believe the sentences handed out to those convicted so far have been too harsh, and 68% believe they should be pardoned. Eighty-two percent of Republican respondents tell us Trump is innocent of the charges he is facing for conspiring to overturn the 2020 election results and, looking forward, nearly three-quarters of Republicans say Trump's promise to be a dictator on just the first day of a second term is a good idea for America.”

“Most rank-and-file Republicans,” Theodoridis summarizes, “appear to continue happily consuming Donald Trump's Kool-Aid.”


This University of Massachusetts Amherst Poll of 1,064 respondents nationwide was conducted by YouGov Jan. 25-30. YouGov interviewed 1,064 total respondents none of whom were matched out to produce the final dataset. The unmatched cases were weighted to a sampling frame using propensity scores. The sampling frame is a politically representative “modeled frame” of U.S. adults, based upon the American Community Survey (ACS) public use microdata file, public voter file records, the 2020 Current Population Survey (CPS) Voting and Registration supplements, the 2020 National Election Pool (NEP) exit poll and the 2020 CES surveys, including demographics and 2020 presidential vote.

The unmatched cases and the frame were combined, and a logistic regression was estimated for inclusion in the frame. The propensity score function included age, gender, race/ethnicity, years of education, region and home ownership status. The propensity scores were grouped into deciles of the estimated propensity score in the frame, and then post-stratified according to these deciles. The weights were then post-stratified on 2020 presidential vote choice, as well as a four-way stratification of gender, age (4-categories), race (4-categories) and education (4-categories), to produce the final weight.

The margin of error of this poll is 3.7%.

Topline results and crosstabs for the poll can be found at

The White House - Credit: Getty Images

More than half of respondents would prefer neither Biden nor Trump run for president and nearly three-quarters of respondents fear violence associated with the election.

The border wall separating El Paso, Texas from Juarez, Mexico. Credit: Getty Images

The survey also finds that disapproval of the president’s handling of the Israeli-Hamas war, including from those on the left, threatens his chances this November.