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Impeachment is Backfiring in the Midwest

Not surprisingly, voters in Wisconsin and other battleground states believe the details of what happened with Ukraine less important than what’s happening in their communities.


- December 3rd, 2019
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House Democrats’ impeachment efforts are backfiring on them throughout the Midwest. Poll after poll is revealing how President Trump is gaining a stronger footing for re-election in key swing states. In Wisconsin, Trump is now more popular than he ever has been. Democrats have themselves to blame for increasing the odds of Trump’s second term through their Beltway focused impeachment hearings.

For Democrats to take back the presidency they need to win in the Rust Belt and the upper Midwest. Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania (a combined 46 electoral votes) all went for Trump in 2016 and Trump barely lost Minnesota (10 electoral votes). Assuming nothing else changes on the electoral map, Democrats would need to win Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania to defeat Trump next year. So, it is important to look at how views of the president are changing as a result of the impeachment proceedings.

In Wisconsin, the Marquette University Law School Poll offered good news for President Trump last week. His 47 percent favorability rating is the highest on record with the poll. Trump won Wisconsin in 2016 when his favorability was at 35 percent among likely voters, according to the final Marquette Poll of 2016.

Most devastating for Democrats is Trump’s strong position in head-to-head matchups compared to where he was prior to the impeachment inquiry. In August (before Speaker Pelosi announced that impeachment was moving forward), former Vice President Joe Biden led Trump by 9 points in Wisconsin. Now, Trump leads by 3 points against Biden and hold leads on all of the other Democrats as well. While Biden’s advantage slipped by a net of 12 percentage points, Vermont socialist Bernie Sanders slipped by 7 points and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) fell by 5 points. All of the Democratic presidential candidates’ numbers against Trump are sliding after two weeks of impeachment hearings.

Wisconsin offered a similar lesson when Democrats pushed a recall of Governor Scott Walker in 2012, in what amounted to a fit of pique. Walker ended up winning the June 2012 recall election with a larger margin than he had in 2010. Exit polls found that most Wisconsinites thought a recall was justified only in the case of official misconduct. Most voters regarded the 2012 vote as a “political witch hunt.”

The most recent Marquette poll on President Trump shows Wisconsin voters have a similar distaste for the Democrats’ impeachment inquisition. Even the Democratic Party in Wisconsin is admitting that when they go door-to-door to talk to Democrat-leaning and inconsistent voters, impeachment is not a topic that voters bring up.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D.-Calif.) and Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff’s (D-Calif.) rush to impeach is also hurting Democrats in congressional races. National Public Radio has been interviewing voters in battleground congressional districts to get their opinions on impeachment. Minnesota Public Radio talked to a life-long Democrat, Don Woetehoff, who is motivated not just to vote for Trump in 2020, but who says he will no longer support a Democrat for Congress, in this case freshman Representative Angie Craig.

“I voted for her, but I won’t vote for her again,” Woestehoff told MPR. “She’s done.”

A recent Minnesota Poll from KTSP found that only 44 percent of Minnesotans support impeachment. Congressmen from battleground districts who voted for the impeachment inquiry are trying to avoid even talking about impeachment and whether they support removal.

In Michigan, NPR talked to a self-described JFK Democrat (who voted for Trump in 2016 and continues to back him) who says Democrats are making a big mistake in pushing impeachment with the 2020 election so close. U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.), who had previously supported impeachment, announced last week that she no longer saw any “value” in the impeachment process to remove Trump and instead wanted a censure vote.

Then there is the national Emerson Poll, which found a sharp swing among independents in opposition to impeachment. Digging deeper, it turns out that only 42.7 percent of voters in the Midwest support impeaching the president.

It may be the “Midwestern nice” ethic that is causing voters to be skeptical of an impeachment inquiry when they feel that the details of what happened in Ukraine are not as important as what is happening in their communities. Or the polling shifts could be the natural response to the Democrats blatant political power play to hurt Trump because they fear they can’t beat him in 2020. Either way, the impeachment efforts are backfiring badly on Democrats in the Midwest.

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