Half of Americans think President Donald Trump's effort to get Ukraine to investigate potential 2020 election rival Joe Biden is an impeachable offense, the October IBD/TIPP Poll found. But the Ukraine scandal has yet to hurt Trump's approval rating or 2020 election prospects. In fact, Trump cut Biden's advantage in a head-to-head matchup nearly in half compared to the September poll. And a solid majority favors a probe of Biden and his son.
IBD/TIPP found that 50% see Trump's actions as rising to the level of an impeachable offense, compared to 46% who don't. Independents were split, with 46% saying it's impeachable and 47% who disagree.
Wider Support For House's Trump Impeachment Inquiry
The Ukraine scandal quickly rose to a crescendo in recent weeks, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announcing a Trump impeachment inquiry on Sept. 24. The White House released a loose transcript of Trump's call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky a day later, confirming that Trump did ask for an investigation into his political rival.
A wider majority, 55% to 44%, supported the House decision to open a Trump impeachment inquiry. Independents backed the move, 53% to 45%.
Trump Job Approval Rating Gets A Bump
Despite the sudden eruption of what looks like president's biggest scandal, Trump's job approval rating actually rose during the month. After hitting a 7-month low of 39% in September's IBD/TIPP Poll, Trump's job approval climbed to 43%. Disapproval of the job Trump's doing dipped to 54% from 55%.
Overall approval of Trump firmed up amid slightly higher approval of his handling of the economy. In October's poll, 48% gave Trump positive marks vs. 46% in September. A steady 39% disapproved of his handling of the economy.
Trump didn't get any bump in approval of his handling of the China trade issue, despite the restart of trade talks. A steady 39% backed Trump's China trade policy. Meanwhile, 48% disapproved vs. 49% in September.
Trump Narrows Biden's 2020 Election Edge
Trump's efforts to get Ukraine to investigate Biden and his son Hunter's dealings in the country appear to be aimed at weakening the Democrat best positioned to beat him in the 2020 election.
Although the president's efforts, first exposed by a whistleblower, have fueled the Democrats' Trump impeachment drive, Biden's political prospects have taken a hit.
Biden still led Trump, 51%-44%, in the October IBD/TIPP Poll. But his advantage narrowed from 54%-42% in September. Among independents, Biden's lead narrowed to just 1 point (46%-45%) from 18 points (55%-37%).
In a head-to-head matchup vs. Trump, Elizabeth Warren led Trump 48% to 46% after leading 49%-46% a month earlier. Trump now leads Warren 49%-43% among independents, after trailing 45%-47% a month earlier.
Self-described investors still favor Biden over Trump 49%-47%, but that's down from 54%-43%. They narrowly favor Trump over Sanders (48%-45%) and Warren (49%-45%), who have both touted wealth taxes in recent weeks.
Americans Back Joe Biden Probe
So far there is minimal evidence of wrongdoing on Biden's part for helping to push out a Ukrainian prosecutor with a weak record in taking on corruption. But Republicans are pointing the finger at the former vice president, whose son Hunter was being paid $50,000 per month at the time for serving on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company. The owner of the company had previously been under investigation.
The appearances aren't great for Biden, who had been known through his career for his middle-class roots and commuting via Amtrak.
Even worse for the former vice president, the IBD/TIPP Poll found 57%-37% support for a Biden probe, specifically a Justice Department investigation of Joe Biden and his son regarding their actions in Ukraine and China. Hunter Biden also had ties with an investment firm that raised funds in China.
Ukraine Scandal Could Weaken Joe Biden Support, But Not Trump
As a result of the impeachment inquiry, 15% said they were more likely to vote for Trump, while 18% said they were more likely to vote against him.
Meanwhile, as a result of the Ukraine story, 8% said they were more likely to vote for Biden and 23% more likely to vote against him.
The IBD/TIPP Poll reflects responses from 900 adults contacted via mobile phones and landlines from Sept. 26 to Oct. 3 and carries a 3.3-point margin of error. Ukraine-related questions reflect the views of a subset of 748 people following the recent news about Trump's call with the Ukrainian president.
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