Just how well did the impeachment of Donald Trump over Ukraine-Gate work out for Joe Biden and the Democrats? The latest Politico/Morning Consult poll shows that someone took a lot of damage, but it wasn’t Trump. His approval rating after impeachment actually rose slightly, from 41/55 in late January to 43/54 just after his Senate acquittal. His favorability rating remains in its usual range at 43/53, but he’s ten points better than Nancy Pelosi’s 34/53.
And when it comes to Democrats in general, the numbers aren’t exactly brilliant either. Respondents only give them a 39/48 approval rating for how they handled the impeachment, slightly behind Republicans’ 41/46. Pelosi personally gets a 35/53 on impeachment and Chuck Schumer a 29/43, while Mitch McConnell’s approval of handling the impeachment is 32/44 and Trump’s is 40/51.
The impeachment may not have made Trump look good, but it mainly succeeded in making his opponents look worse. And no one ended up looking worse than the Bidens, as Politico notes in its report:
The Biden-Ukraine affair ultimately led to President Donald Trump’s impeachment for pressuring Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. Voters were split 47-47 percent on whether it was appropriate for the Senate last week to acquit Trump, the poll shows.
In contrast, 52 percent of voters believe it was inappropriate for Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, to take the job with the firm Burisma, while 18 percent said it was appropriate. Fifty-seven percent said it was a scandal while 19 percent said it wasn’t.
Still, a plurality of 40 percent said the Biden-Ukraine affair wouldn’t make any difference in their vote, while 31 percent said it made them less likely to support him and 8 percent said more likely.
That may be one way of looking at it, but another is that among those whose votes might be changed, almost four times as many say it makes them less likely to vote for Joe Biden. Those who say “much less likely” includes 31% of all seniors and 21% of all Gen-Xers, and also 19% of all independents. Most of this is strongly correlated to Trump support, but even 13% of those who view Trump unfavorably say they are less likely to vote for Biden after the Ukraine scandal.
And a scandal it is, they say, including a majority of independents:
Independent voters, whose support can be crucial in a general election, were far more likely than Democrats to view Hunter Biden’s business dealings as inappropriate, 54 percent to 12 percent. And by 57 percent to 15 percent, independents said it was a scandal, with 28 percent calling it a “major” scandal and 27 percent a “minor” scandal.
Even among those who view Trump unfavorably, 40% think the Biden-Ukraine connection is a scandal, although 31% of that demo considers it a “minor” scandal. Thirty-five percent of Hillary Clinton voters consider it a scandal, too (7/28 on major/minor). Including leaners, more Democrats think it’s a scandal than not, 38/33, as do those planning to vote or caucus for Democrats this year, 40/35.
Finally, in a more subtle form of backfire, take a look at the issues responses in this poll. The top two sets of issues, which garner 43% of all responses, are the economy and national security, both issues in Trump’s wheelhouse. Health care comes in third at 18% while climate change and “women’s issues” land in the mid-single digits. Democrats spent the past year talking about nonsensical Russia-collusion hypotheses and Ukraine-Gate while Trump focused on the top two issue sets that voters care about. Democrats’ agenda falls far down the focus list now, an outcome that Democrats could have spent the last year changing — had they stuck to legislating rather than investigations.