It's not beyond consideration that what now seems silly political grandstanding could get much more serious, especially if the Iraq war continues to go badly, current scandals surrounding the attorney general or White House political adviser Karl Rove get worse, or new White House scandals emerge.
Be all that as it may, the main significance of this public opinion survey isn't its potential predictive value regarding the careers of Bush and Cheney. Rather, the poll tells us that the Republican team readying to assume the party's mantle when the presidential campaign kicks off in earnest in the summer of 2008 might be facing insurmountable odds.
Independent voters are the critical demographic in key swing states such as Florida and Ohio. We track this segment of voters carefully throughout presidential contests, and we know it well. Having no true party alliance, independents can drift into either side's camp and thereby elect the president.
The fact that such a large percentage of these voters are willing to support something as drastic as the impeachment of the president and vice president tells me that the depth of the irritation with the president over his handling of the war, and over his political tin ear when (not) listening to the public's rising discontent, is becoming a powerful political force in itself.
Having been close to former Speaker Newt Gingrich when his Republican-majority House of Representatives pushed for the impeachment of a president, I can vouch that pursuit of impeachment can be tricky enough to backfire on those who initiate it.
That's why I don't expect current Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California to allow the nascent impeachment movement to grow much larger.
Nevertheless, the astounding public sentiment expressed in this poll illustrates just how far Bush and Cheney may have set their party back.