Both House Democrats and the national news media have tried selling impeachment as the nation’s highest priority. According to the latest Emerson poll in Iowa, not even their fellow Democrats are buying that. Only six percent of voters in the key Midwestern swing state see impeachment as the most important issue, and a majority would vote to re-elect Donald Trump rather than vote for the two top Democratic candidates to replace him.
Emerson buries the impeachment lead quite a bit, but it’s fascinating. According to pollster Spencer Kimball, a third of Democrats in the state aren’t buying impeachment at all, and only one in ten think it’s a high priority:
The most important issue for voters in Iowa in deciding for whom to vote for president is the economy at 33%, followed by healthcare at 19% and social issues at 10%. Impeachment ranked 7 out of 9 at 6%, ahead of education at 5% and foreign policy at 3%. Among Democrats, the most important issue is health care at 25%, followed by the economy at 17% and the environment at 14%. The majority of Republicans (55%) identify the economy as the most important issue, followed by immigration at 14%. Independents are split between the economy (27%) and healthcare (24%).
“The Democrats have some work to do in Iowa convincing voters that impeachment is a top priority of Congress; 67% of Democrats in Iowa support impeaching the president, but only 10% identify it as the most important issue in deciding their vote for president,” added Kimball.
Kimball gets this a bit backwards. Does anyone not think that impeachment is a top priority for Congress, especially the House? It’s practically the only item on which they’ve worked all year, and it’s all House Democrats could talk about for the two years prior to that. The fact that impeachment is the alpha and omega of the House Democratic caucus can have escaped no one’s attention by now.
The problem for Democrats is actually the reverse. House Democrats haven’t noticed that their singular focus on impeachment isn’t playing anywhere else, especially not in the Midwestern region Democrats have to woo back next year. Whatever arguments they’re making that Trump is just soooo bad that nothing else matters is turning out to be very much a fringe position outside of the Acela Corridor. Only ten percent of Democrats buy that argument in Iowa; the rest want Congress to focus on issues that actually do matter to voters.
Funny how voters tend to consider their lives a higher priority than Beltway drama, eh? Almost as funny as how both parties never quite learn that lesson, but in this case Democrats almost seem committed to their ignorance.
With that in mind, it’s not surprising at all that Emerson finds pretty good head-to-head numbers for Trump in Iowa:
In hypothetical head to head matchups, Trump has a slight advantage over Warren and Biden: 51% to 49%, while Sanders carries a 2 point advantage over Trump with 51% to 49%; all three match-ups are within the polls margin of error. (n=888, +/-3.2%)
Bernie Sanders, however, has dropped to fourth in the state among Democratic caucus-goers. Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren split at 23% each, but Pete Buttigieg has edged into third place with 16%, three points above Sanders. Emerson didn’t do a head-to-head with Trump and Buttigieg, but they might the next time around if he can sustain his momentum, although he was at 11% as far back as March, too. Sanders’ drop appears to mostly be at the gain of Warren, Emerson concludes, although she does slightly worse against Trump.
Perhaps Democrats would do better if they dropped impeachment and started talking more about their policies. Or maybe they’re talking about impeachment in order to avoid talking about their radical-progressive agenda. Even if orange man bad isn’t selling like hotcakes, it might still do better than the massive government control that would be the alternative.