New Suffolk and CNN polls gives Trump some needed good news

Riding on the back of Trump’s best approval rating of his presidency, a new survey has more eye-opening news. The latest poll from Suffolk and USA Today once again pits President Trump against most of the Democratic candidates currently in the running. In a marked shift from the last couple of surveys, and on the eve of what will almost certainly be his impeachment by Democrats, the President is leading every one of his potential opponents.

President Donald Trump, the first modern president to face impeachment during his first term in the White House, now leads his top Democratic rivals in his bid for a second, a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll finds.

The national survey, taken as the House of Representatives planned an impeachment vote and the Senate a trial, showed Trump defeating former Vice President Joe Biden by 3 percentage points, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders by 5 points, and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren by 8 points.

In hypothetical head-to-head contests, Trump also led South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg by 10 points and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg by 9.

Any polling this far ahead of the election generally isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on, but still… holy cow. It’s tough to write this off as anything other than a growing backlash against the impeachment circus. I can’t shake this image of Trump as Obi Wan Kenobi facing off against the Democrats’ Darth Vader. “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.”

Looking into these numbers, Biden still remains the Democrats’ best hope, though the statistical difference between him and Sanders is inside the margin of error. Warren continues to free fall (she was leading Trump in their last survey) and Pete Buttigieg is turning into an afterthought.

Of course, even the best polling companies can cough up an outlier every once in a while so we’d need to see a few more like this before we call it a trend. Also, the Democratic field remains very splintered, so we have to account for some sour grapes among the liberals answering the survey. (A Sanders supporter might pick Trump over Warren and vice versa.) We’ll have a better idea of where things stand when the primary field narrows down to a few contenders.

Adding more support to the idea that impeachment is hurting the Democrats more than Trump is the latest CNN poll. Support for impeachment has dropped nine points since October and is now a minority opinion.

Support for impeaching Trump and removing him from office stands at 45% in the new poll, down from 50% in a poll conducted in mid-November just after the conclusion of the House Intelligence Committee’s public hearings. Opposition to impeachment and removal stands at 47% in the new poll, up from 43% in November. Support for impeachment and removal among Democrats has dipped from 90% in November to 77% now.

Here’s another nugget from the CNN poll to keep an eye on. At this point, 37% of voters say that these impeachment proceedings will have no effect on the President’s reelection chances. But 32% say that it will actually help Trump next November. Only 25% said it would hurt his prospects. When you stack that up against the party split on the generic ballot, Democrats are clearly turning off the middle and even their base is becoming depressed.

CNN bravely tries to put a happy face on these numbers by describing the nation as “evenly split” on the subject of impeachment. But there have now been too many surveys in a row to ignore the trend. These numbers have been heading in only one direction and that’s downward when it comes to whether or not Trump should be removed from office. CNN has been covering impeachment as virtually the only story of interest for months. (The same goes for MSNBC.) Much like the Brexit debate in Great Britain, one gets the sense that people have just grown exhausted with the entire debacle and are ready to get on with business.