Internal polling in key 2020 congressional districts shows the majority of voters do not view President Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky an impeachable offense.
That spells trouble for Democrats, who used the conversation as a catalyst for their impeachment efforts.
Public Opinion Strategies conducted an internal poll in key congressional districts for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and Team McCarthy, isolating 40 Republican-held House seats that the party intends to defend in 2020 and 55 Democrat-held seats that the GOP hopes to flip. The poll – taken October 1-3, 2019 – found the majority of voters do no view Trump’s phone call with Zelensky as an impeachable offense.
Respondents were asked:
Thinking just about this specific case of the President’s phone call with the Ukraine President, do you believe that what President Trump did was appropriate, the same as other Presidents have probably done, inappropriate, but not impeachable, or an impeachable offense?
The poll shows the majority, 59 percent, do not view the conversation as an impeachable offense, while 37 percent view it as impeachable. While opinions on impeachment are largely divided on party lines, the majority of independents– 57 percent – do not view the conversation itself as impeachable.
The survey spelled trouble for Democrats who hold seats in Trump-won districts. The vast majority – 62 percent – consider the conversation between the two leaders was “appropriate.” Only 33 percent considered it impeachable. Furthermore, Republican candidates in Trump districts represented by Democrats hold a “double-digit advantage” over impeachment-supporting Democrats.
Respondents were asked:
And, thinking ahead to the next election, would you be more willing to vote for: A Democratic candidate for Congress who believes that President Trump should be impeached and removed from office…or… A Republican candidate for Congress who believes that President Trump’s actions do not rise to an impeachable offense and that voters should be allowed to decide for themselves in next year’s elections.
Fifty-four percent of voters in those Trump-won, Democrat-held districts said they would be more willing to vote for a Republican. Only 38 percent chose a Democrat, giving Republicans a 16-point advantage.
Additionally, the majority of voters in these districts – 58 percent – say Democrats have not accomplished much since taking the House, and 62 percent believe that the impeachment inquiry will continue to distract them from achieving promised policy goals.
Over two-thirds of voters in these key districts say that the impeachment effort is “all about politics”– not a genuine concern of wrongdoing by the president, the survey found.
The poll’s margin of error is +/- 3.46 percent.
The results of the internal findings were summed up in a memo. The bottom line concluded that “voters clearly believe impeachment is sidetracking the country and Congress, will keep Congress from getting anything else done, and cause even deeper partisan divisions in the country.
The memo added:
Congressional Democrats who represent Trump districts appear to be in a precarious position here, as their voters clearly side against impeachment and are much more willing to vote for a GOP candidate opposing impeachment than a Democrat supporting it.
The polling suggests that Democrats in key congressional districts are in vulnerable positions, which could explain why House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) held off the impeachment inquiry for so long.
“The public isn’t there on impeachment. It’s your voice and constituency, but give me the leverage I need to make sure that we’re ready and it is as strong as it can be,” Pelosi told Democrats in a caucus-wide call in August.
Democrat leaders have been strategizing on how to successfully back Democrats in swing districts and sway public opinion in their favor. They plan to drive the impeachment narrative, in part, by utilizing repetition, repeating keywords and phrases such as “betrayal,” “abuse of power,” and “national security.”
Given the poll’s findings and a continued lack of evidence of wrongdoing by the president, Republican lawmakers are not expected to modify their position on impeachment.