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House Republicans begin their impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden with support from nearly half of U.S. voters, according to our new survey following House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s Sept. 12 announcement of the probe.
Slightly more voters than not (48% to 42%) support the current impeachment investigation into the president, which is related to the business dealings of Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, and other family members.
More than 3 in 5 Republicans, almost half of independents, and — perhaps surprisingly — 36% of Democrats approve of the inquiry. That figure among Democrats at the nascent stage of this impeachment probe is three times the size of the Republican support for House Democrats’ Ukraine-related query into then-President Donald Trump in October 2019.
Voters are even more closely split when it comes to their views about the motivations of House Republicans.
Voters Are Divided Over Primary Motivation for Biden Impeachment Push
While 43% of voters say the impeachment investigation is largely due to evidence of wrongdoing by the president, 41% say it is being done out of motivation to damage Biden’s political career, with independent voters as evenly split as the overall electorate.
The political impact
The figures among independents, a group that already dislikes Biden, may offer some solace for the president when it comes to the impeachment proceedings’ impact on his 2024 standing. While the bulk of independents support the probe, they are less likely to see evidence of wrongdoing by Biden when compared with our previous surveys gauging views about Trump’s indictments. That marks a problem for Republican messaging at least at this early stage given their meager evidence of wrongdoing by Biden.
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However, the survey’s findings, particularly views among Democratic voters, should alarm Biden and his party. Democrats are notably less resistant to impeachment than Republicans were in 2019 at the start of House Democrats’ first impeachment probe of then-President Donald Trump, over his handling of assistance to Ukraine. Democrats who believe Congress should begin impeachment proceedings against Biden are almost equally divided on the reason for why: 47% say he committed an impeachable offense, while 48% say he has proven he is unfit to serve regardless of whether he committed an impeachable offense.
More immediately, the move does appear to be giving a public boost to McCarthy, the embattled House speaker who is struggling to manage his unruly GOP caucus and may not even have the requisite votes to impeach the president.
McCarthy’s Popularity Improves Among Republicans Following His Impeachment Announcement
According to our weekly tracking of public sentiment about congressional leaders, McCarthy’s favorability rating among Republican voters improved to 49% from 42% following the impeachment announcement, while his unfavorability rating has dropped to 18% from 25% since the beginning of September. Meanwhile the GOP electorate’s favorable views of Republicans on Capitol Hill generally — already comparatively high — went unchanged.
The coming weeks will test whether that uptick in McCarthy’s popularity among GOP voters will be reflected within his caucus as he works to avert a government shutdown, an issue that has failed to attract the same level of attention as his impeachment push.