There’s a reason Republican lawmakers don’t want to talk about the substance of what Donald Trump did: People might actually be reminded of what he did. And what Trump did in soliciting foreign help for 2020 is extremely unpopular, according to new polling from Grinnell College conducted by Iowa polling guru Ann Selzer.
Asked if it’s “okay with you or not okay for political candidates in the U.S. to ask for assistance from a foreign government to help them win an election,” 81% of Americans said it wasn’t okay. A paltry 7% effectively said that what Trump did was okay, though his name was never actually invoked in the question.
“When it comes to foreign interference, having findings this close to a consensus are rare in polling these days,” Selzer said of the results. “The substance of the question at hand in the impeachment inquiry does not seem in dispute.”
The large cohort of Americans saying that soliciting foreign interference wasn’t okay with them included a rather eye-popping 81% of Republicans, 85% of evangelicals, and 87% of rural dwellers. But when it came to impeaching Trump, the same poll hewed more closely to the responses in other recent polls, with 42% saying Trump should be impeached and removed from office, while 44% said he should not; 48% also support the inquiry, while 42% don’t.
But the main difference between responses to the question on foreign interference versus the question on impeachment clearly comes down to the tribalism that kicks in when Trump’s name is included in the query.
The bottom line is that the Republican Party is now trying to jam something down the throats of Americans that the overwhelming majority of them find distasteful in their heart of hearts. That fact puts GOP lawmakers in an extremely precarious position from the outset. Now they are attempting to justify those actions purely on the strength of people’s loyalty to Trump, a historically unpopular and divisive president. It may sell to his cultists, but it sure won’t sell anywhere else.