The impeachment of Donald Trump hasn’t just flopped in the ratings. It also hasn’t succeeded in the polls, either. In the latest Washington Post/ABC poll, Trump has actually become more competitive than at the beginning of the House Democrats’ impeachment process in October. At that point, all of the Democratic presidential frontrunners had double-digit leads over Trump.

Now? Virtual ties across the board. And the lesson here is that, while things have changed over the last three months, not much has changed since 1992 when it comes to presidential elections:

President Trump begins his reelection year in a more competitive position than he was last fall against potential Democratic challengers, aided by rising approval for his handling of the economy, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll. …

Former vice president Joe Biden is currently favored by 50 percent of registered voters while 46 percent support Trump. Former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg has 49 percent support to Trump’s 46 percent, also virtually even given the poll’s four-point margin of sampling error among registered voters.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) receives 49 percent to Trump’s 47 percent, while Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) stands at 48 percent to Trump’s 47 percent. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is tied with Trump at 48 percent. Former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg is at 45 percent to Trump’s 48 percent. …

The close matchups between Trump and Democrats among registered voters represent a contrast with an October Post-ABC poll in which Biden, Sanders, Warren and Buttigieg all held double-digit advantages over the incumbent. (Bloomberg and Klobuchar were not tested against Trump in that poll.)

To paraphrase James Carville, It’s still the economy, stupid. And it might also be the stupidity, too, as voters appear unimpressed with the House impeachment effort. What voters actually care about is their own economy, not Beltway partisan warfare:

Economic prosperity is boosting Donald Trump’s political prospects, helping the relatively unpopular president to a competitive position against his potential Democratic opponents in the fall election, the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll finds.

Key to Trump’s opportunity is a rise in economic confidence. One year before he took office, 63% of Americans said they were worried about maintaining their standard of living. Today, 43% say so, a broad 20-point drop in personal economic uncertainty.

Trump, moreover, gets a share of credit; as reported Friday, 56% approve of his handling of the economy, up 10 points since early September to a career high.

When it comes to presidential elections, Americans vote their pocketbooks. The jump in wages over the past two years has made a large impact, much more than any negatives from Trump’s trade wars, especially the one with China. That 20-point drop in economic uncertainty is a powerful force for staying the course, as Ronald Reagan put it in his second-term message. Trump has a majority approval on economic policy among urban, suburban, and rural voters, and majority approval in three of four geographical demos (49/46 plurality in the West). That show of optimism is a powerful step toward re-election.

That optimism also gets shown in another survey outcome, one which seems quite surprising in the context of an ongoing impeachment:

Trump moves slightly ahead in another measure, albeit a speculative one: Americans by 49-43% say they expect him to win reelection. Of course, that doesn’t always work out; during the 2016 election cycle, half or more expected Hillary Clinton to win.

A measure of enthusiasm, which can indicate motivation to vote, also is somewhat better for Trump. Ninety-three percent of people who back him in all these matchups say they’re enthusiastic about supporting him, while fewer of those who always pick the Democratic candidates say they’re enthusiastic about opposing Trump, 81%.

If Democrats hoped that the impeachment would hobble Trump’s electoral support, so far they are very much mistaken. If anything, it may have made voters more enthusiastic in their support of him, which isn’t necessarily surprising in the context of how he won office in the first place. Trump promised voters that he’d take on the establishment and that only he could stand up to it. To the extent that Trump can paint impeachment as an establishment effort to oust Trump for its own purposes, impeachment will actually act as a motivator. Had Adam Schiff taken his time to build a proper case — assuming one could be made — that argument would have been blunted. Right now, though, it appears to have little credibility among Trump voters.

The demos in this survey look ominous for Democrats, at least for the moment. Among registered voters, Trump gets a 47/50 job approval rating, which would be mediocre for most presidents but is nearly stratospheric for Trump. Among independents, it’s 47/48 — again, a curious outcome in the middle of an impeachment trial. There is a yuuuuuge gender gap here, with men rating him 57/39 and women 33/62, which will be a big problem in November if Trump can’t eat into that gap. Interestingly, the income demos on job approval seem to have flipped; he only gets a 38/57 among those earning below $50K, but a 50/48 for those earning >$100K.

One potential red flag for Trump is his approval rating based on geography. He only scores a plurality of 49/45 in the South, and otherwise has majority disapproval in the other three regions, including a 45/53 rating in the Midwest. He scores a 61/32 in rural areas, nearly a mirror image of his 35/60 in urban areas, but trails in suburban districts 45/51. To win in November, he has to win both rural and suburban districts to counterweight Democrats’ strength in urban cores.

Right now, though, Trump’s telling a story of economic confidence and prosperity, while Democrats aren’t offering much else other than Orange Man Bad. The longer this impeachment drags out, the less time they have to change the subject — which is what they now desperately need to do.