Politico: Sure looks like impeachment is "a liability" in key House Dem districts

Granted, this comes from internal polling from a GOP-affiliated PAC, but Politico’s Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer report that it’s getting noticed on Capitol Hill nonetheless. A few weeks back, the American Action Network launched a $7 million ad buy aimed at House districts that flipped to Democrats in 2018, with messaging focused on the impeachment of Donald Trump.  They followed up with polling in three districts to measure the impact of the messaging, and it certainly looks as though voters are poised to punish their representatives for the attempt to impeach Trump rather than let voters decide next November:

AAN polled in the swing districts of Reps. SUSIE LEE (D-Nev.) and ANTHONY BRINDISI (D-N.Y.) and the very heavily Trump district represented by Rep. KENDRA HORN (D-Okla.).

HERE’S THE TOPLINE: IMPEACHMENT APPEARS — at this point, according to this polling — to be a liability. In BRINDISI’S and LEE’S districts, 53% of voters are less likely to vote for them if they support impeachment. 48% of voters are less likely to vote for HORN — whose district is quite conservative.

THIS IS NOTABLE TOO … MORE THAN 60% in each of these districts say they believe voters, not the impeachment process, should decide whether to keep Trump in office.

POLITICIANS ARE VERY FOND OF SAYING that impeachment simply isn’t breaking through back home, but this poll shows that’s BS. 64% of LEE’S constituents have seen, read or heard about their representative on impeachment, 78% of BRINDISI’S and 79% of HORN’S.

This is a pretty diverse sampling of districts, which might be why this is making an impression. Horn has the toughest district of the trio, the R+10 OK-05, where Trump won in 2016 by nearly 14 points. Trump won by 15 in Brindisi’s NY-22, but the Cook index is a less daunting R+6. Lee should have the easiest time in NV-03, which not only is evenly split but was specifically created with the intention of making it a “fair fight” district. The Cook index there is only R+2, and Trump only won by a single-point plurality, 48/47, while Lee won her race 52/43 two years later over Danny Tarkanian.

Allahpundit has already reviewed the situation in Horn’s district in the previous post, but as it turns out, Horn’s district has the least potential blowback. AAN’s polling shows that the largest potential blowback actually falls in Lee’s district:

By wide majorities, voters in all three districts believe that impeachment has obstructed more important work focusing outside of the Beltway:

One could make a complaint on this question that it’s leading enough that it impacts the results, but it’s also difficult to ask this question in any way that wouldn’t do so. AAN also reports that across all three districts, two-thirds of independent voters agree with the statement. It’s doubtful in any case that the form of the question would account for either the wideness of the gap nor the strength of the agreement, however.

Voters in all three districts would prefer that Democrats leave it to them in November, rather than attempting to remove Trump now. Once again, OK-05 comes in a close third out of three on this, too:

AAN’s conclusion is somewhat self-serving, but nonetheless supported by the data. They take credit for shaping the opinions in these districts with their messaging, and note that the two most effective arguments are the latter two messages. One has to wonder whether AAN’s advertising campaign has shaped those opinions, though, or whether they were always out there and largely ignored by other pollsters and media.

Plus, it’s in their obvious interest to claim that they’re moving the needle and produce data to that effect, but they’re also spending their own money on these campaigns. If the messaging wasn’t effective and didn’t move the needle, they’d want to know that. They wouldn’t want us to know that, but they need accurate metrics in order to keep from throwing good money after bad. If the results come back negative, they’d simply keep them quiet, but a positive report is well worth publishing and promoting.

Allahpundit raises the issue of whether this will sustain all the way to the election. That depends in large part just when and where the impeachment train grinds to a halt. If Democrats fail to pass articles of impeachment, it might get forgotten fairly quickly. If they force a Senate trial, one in which Republicans will control both the process and the narrative, they may not be so fortunate — especially at-risk House Democrats like Lee, Brindisi, and Horn, and more than a few others.