By Saeed Sobhani

The endless Trump-Biden war

October 9, 2019

TEHRAN-Former US President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden continue their fight. In the end, it looks like the loser has two losers: Biden and Trump!

Polls show that on one hand American public opinion has increased in opposition to the Trump administration, and on the other hand, Biden's popularity has declined. This is the best possible situation for people like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Here's a look at the latest Biden and Trump polls and news:

Polls begin to signal rising impeachment threat to Trump

As CNBC reported, Modern polling usually tells us how public opinion hasn’t moved. Despite last week’s hailstorm of bad news, President Donald Trump’s job approval rating stood virtually unchanged.

So did the president’s backing from Republican elected officials in Washington. Except for Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah and a few others, GOP members of the House and Senate have either defended the president’s actions concerning Ukraine and former Vice President Joe Biden or remained silent.

Yet surveys in recent days show public sentiment evolving more than Trump’s steady topline would suggest. They also illuminate the potential for erosion among fellow Republicans, which could ultimately threaten the president’s ability to survive a Senate trial on articles of impeachment approved by the House.

“If you’re the president you have to take that seriously,” says former Republican strategist Tom Davis, who once ran his party’s House campaign arm. “What moves this ultimately is public opinion. These members like their jobs.”

Last week’s Monmouth University poll showed signs of movement within a broader portrait of stability. Buoyed by backing from 86% of Republicans, Trump’s approval rating remained unchanged: 41% of Americans approved of his job performance, 53% disapproved. At the same time, the share of Republicans backing a House impeachment inquiry doubled to 16% from 8% in August.

A CBS News poll found 23% of Republicans backing an impeachment probe. In a USA Today survey, 30% of Republicans called it “an abuse of power” for Trump to ask Ukraine to investigate Biden. Even if they haven’t broken with their party’s president, those Republicans pose a particular danger to Trump, who once bragged that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue in New York without losing support.“The willingness to hear this out is a sign that you’re not a Fifth Avenue Republican,” says GOP strategist Liam Donovan.

Others susceptible to change include the roughly 15% of voters who already disapprove of Trump but don’t yet back impeachment. This group consists largely of political independents, with some Democrats and a smaller number of Republicans as well. College-educated whites — who disdain Trump but so far feel less strongly about impeaching him — represent a special vulnerability. If House Democratic investigators can persuade wavering Republicans that Trump withheld aid to Ukraine in return for a Biden investigation, observes GOP pollster Whit Ayres, “then it’s a different ballgame.”

Tribal loyalty in contemporary politics makes that a high hurdle. In the Monmouth Poll, for example, only 40% of Republicans said they believed Trump requested a Biden investigation even though the White House-released transcript of his call with Ukraine’s president shows that he did.“There are a lot of people who will go to the ends of the Earth to give Donald Trump the benefit of the doubt,” Ayres explains.

Still, support for Trump’s impeachment, not merely an inquiry, reached 50% in last week’s Economist/YouGov poll. A 51% majority — including one in eight Republicans — said the Senate should remove Trump from office if the House votes to impeach him.It will take more defections than that to shift the cost-benefit analyses of the GOP politicians whose voters will decide Trump’s fate. Virtually all of them — including swing-state senators on the ballot in 2020 such as Martha McSally of Arizona, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Susan Collins of Maine — fear defections among Trump-loving Republicans at least as much as an anti-Trump wave.“We’re a long way from any Republicans being ready to vote for impeachment, even if they don’t like the guy or think he’s a good president,” cautions GOP pollster Glen Bolger.That may never happen. Democrats can pass impeachment articles in the House all on their own but would need the votes of at least 19 Republican senators to convict and remove Trump from office in a Senate trial.

Yet new evidence keeps tumbling out nearly as fast as House Democrats subpoena documents and testimony from administration officials. Today, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman broke with Republican colleagues who have excused Trump’s conduct, calling it “not appropriate.”

Portman stopped short of supporting impeachment, saying Congress needs to be “very careful” about that step. But the fact that mainstream Republicans entertain the discussion while watching the polls underscores Trump’s heightened peril.

“I certainly wouldn’t vote to impeach on the basis of what I’ve seen so far,” says veteran Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, a former executive director of the Republican National Committee. “I’m not going to rule it in or out.”

Biden campaign rallies its donors for big Super Tuesday push as poll numbers and fundraising soften

Also, CNBC reported that Joe Biden’s campaign — which is grappling with weakening poll numbers, a disappointing third-quarter fundraising haul and attacks from President Donald Trump over Ukraine ties — rallied its leading donors and fundraisers over the weekend in Philadelphia as it looks to re-establish momentum in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

That means increased emphasis on Super Tuesday primaries March 3, when 40% of delegates are up for grabs, and not necessarily on the earliest nominating states, Iowa and New Hampshire, where campaigns usually seek to grab an early toehold in presidential races. According to attendees who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the private nature of the talks, senior campaign officials told leading Biden fundraisers, or bundlers, that the campaign is looking to boost the number of its fundraising events and bolster its online donor program in a bid to dominate Super Tuesday. California, North Carolina, and Texas all hold their primaries that day.

The weekend sessions, which were scheduled before the most recent developments in the polls and the Ukraine scandal, were held at the 201 Hotel. They were led by campaign manager Greg Schultz, deputy campaign manager Pete Kavanaugh, and other leaders.

“They need to raise a substantial amount. Super Tuesday comes immediately after the first four states,” said a business executive helping Biden raise cash and who participated in the strategy session. When asked how the aides described their upcoming efforts, this person said: “More events with him, surrogates, and ramping up online. They feel good about ramping up online.”

Attendees described the senior campaign officials’ remarks as a “rah-rah speech” — and a call to beef up fundraising efforts in order to have the best chance at picking up delegates in earlier primary states such as Nevada and South Carolina. These primaries are scheduled for February, after the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. In the most recent surveys, Biden is ahead of the pack in Nevada and South Carolina but slightly behind in Iowa and New Hampshire.

“Goal for 4Q [fourth quarter] was, ‘Let’s ramp it up with traditional events, and let’s beef up the online contributions,’” said another backer of Biden’s who took part in the meeting. “I agree timing is an issue — we need enough to get through Iowa and New Hampshire.

Staying in the hunt through those two and crushing them in S.C. will bring in the Super Tuesday money. So we need to do reasonably well in those two.”

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, who attended the gathering and is helping Biden raise campaign cash, brushed off donor concerns about polls and fundraising.

“Donors are always worried. I’ve never had donors that are 100% confident,” Rendell told CNBC on Monday. “If the polls show that they are winning by 20, they ask why aren’t you winning by 23.”

These discussions came just days after the Biden campaign announced an underwhelming third-quarter fundraising haul of slightly more than $15 million. The former vice president’s tally for the period was less than the takes for Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Biden’s front-runner position has weakened substantially. He is virtually tied or slightly behind Warren in some surveys, and his once-massive lead over Warren in the Real Clear Politics polling average has collapsed to 0.3%. A Biden campaign spokesman declined to comment.

Biden recently spoke about his possible path to victory through the electoral college at a fundraiser in California. The former vice president mentioned the state of North Carolina as one he thinks they could win while noting Texas could be a long shot.“I think we can win Georgia. And I think we can win North Carolina,” he said last week. He labeled the Lone Star state, along with later primaries in Georgia and Arizona, as “a stretch,” while noting, “I don’t want to jinx myself.”

Georgia holds its primary March 17, and Arizona’s is March 24.

Politico recently reported that Biden’s campaign plans to increase its staffing in Super Tuesday states. Still, Biden’s campaign privately stressed that in order to make inroads, it needs to efficiently raise the cash necessary to compete, and possibly win, the majority of the Super Tuesday delegates. Biden’s campaign said the last week of the third quarter represented its best seven days of online fundraising since May. While the campaign gave the impression to donors that it may spend more online, Biden’s political organization has seen a dip in Facebook ad spending over the past 30 days. The social media giant’s ad library shows the campaign has spent over $280,000 on Facebook ads since Sept. 5, which was less invested than other primary contenders over that same time period, such as Warren, Sanders, Buttigieg, Sen. Kamala Harris, and billionaire Tom Steyer. Facebook is often used by campaigns to appeal to grassroots donors and help bring in small donations.

Biden himself spoke to more than 100 financiers at the weekend event — and signaled that he’s going to ratchet up his attacks on Trump in the Ukraine scandal, donors said. The president has repeatedly linked Biden and his son Hunter to unproven claims of corruption in Ukraine.

Trump himself is embroiled in an impeachment inquiry by the House of Representatives after a whistleblower alleged the president asked Ukraine’s president to investigate the Biden family. While Trump has denied wrongdoing, he recently said China should also look the younger Biden’s business ties there while reiterating his call for Ukraine to investigate.

Biden wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post, which was published over the weekend, in which he forcefully pushed back on Trump’s attacks.“And to Trump and those who facilitate his abuses of power, and all the special interests funding his attacks against me: Please know that I’m not going anywhere,” Biden wrote. “You won’t destroy me, and you won’t destroy my family. And come November 2020, I intend to beat you like a drum.”

Biden also recently put out a new attack ad against Trump titled “Unhinged” as part of a $6 million media effort in the early stages. CNN reports the ad will run in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada as a digital spot and will be broadcast on a few of those television markets.

Fox News Poll: Biden bests Trump by nine points in Wisconsin

Foxnews reported that 

Wisconsin voters are unhappy with how things are going in the country, oppose the border wall, think tariffs hurt the economy and disapprove of the job President Trump is doing. That gives Democratic candidates the lead in each of the possible 2020 matchups tested in a Fox News Poll of Wisconsin registered voters.

Joe Biden bests Trump by 9 points (48-39 percent) and has the only lead outside the poll’s margin of error. Bernie Sanders is up by 5 over Trump (45-40) and Elizabeth Warren has a 4-point edge (45-41). In each case, the remaining 13-14 percent of undecided/third-party voters is enough to shift the race either way.

Trump receives 41 percent support or less in each of the matchups -- well below the 47 percent, he won the Badger State within 2016. At the same time, none of the Democrats hit 50 percent. The Democratic candidates mostly owe their advantage to women voters and those with a college degree. Trump does best among white men without a degree and white evangelical Christians.

“Wisconsin is a tough nut for Republicans and the president has an uphill climb,” says Republican pollster Daron Shaw, who conducts the Fox News Poll with Democrat Chris Anderson. “He needs to reassure rural voters who are spooked by the tariffs while persuading suburban voters to buy into his low tax/pro-growth economic vision.”

Trump won rural voters by 27 points in 2016. They now back him over Biden by only 2 points. By a 19-point margin, Wisconsin voters think tariffs hurt rather than help the economy, and more oppose building a wall along the southern border by 10 points. Those favoring the wall prefer Trump by 73 points, while those opposed go for Biden by 76. Voters who say tariffs hurt the economy prefer Biden by a 61-point margin. Those who think tariffs help support Trump by 65. Trump beat Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin by less than one percentage point, making him the first Republican to win the state since 1984. Ninety-two percent of Clinton voters back Biden, while 83 percent of Trump voters stick with him.

Currently, 44 percent of Badger State voters approve of the job Trump is doing and 54 percent disapprove. Views are nearly identical in the direction of the country: 43 percent are satisfied with how things are going vs. 55 percent dissatisfied. Almost half (48 percent) rate the economy as excellent or good, while slightly more (51 percent) say it is in only fair or poor shape. Meanwhile, despite many finding Trump’s dealings with the president of Ukraine troubling (33 percent extremely and 12 percent very), a 54 percent majority says there is zero chance something about the situation would cause them to change their mind about Trump.

Forty-two percent want Trump impeached and removed from office, 4 percent say impeached, but not removed, and 45 percent oppose impeachment. More Republicans (90 percent) oppose impeachment than Democrats favor it (82 percent).In the race for the Democratic nomination, Biden is the top choice with 28 percent support, followed by Warren at 22 percent, and Sanders at 17 percent. Pete Buttigieg comes in at 7 percent, Kamala Harris 5 percent, and Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, and Andrew Yang get 2 percent apiece.  All others receive 1 percent or less.

The Sanders campaign announced Wednesday that he is off the trail indefinitely after undergoing a heart procedure. The poll was conducted Sunday through Wednesday evenings. More Sanders supporters strongly back him (75 percent), compared to Warren (61 percent) and Biden supporters (61 percent). Biden’s strongest groups include moderates, white Catholics and voters without a college degree. Warren does best among college graduates and self-described liberals, and Sanders makes the top three largely because of voters under age 35. More Warren supporters (64 percent) are extremely interested in the election than Sanders (60 percent) or Biden supporters (51 percent). Democratic primary voters place far greater importance on beating Trump than voting for their preferred candidate (52-33 percent). They split, however, when it comes to supporting a candidate who will build on former President Obama’s legacy vs. one who will take a new and different approach (43-47 percent). Biden is the top pick among those who want to build on Obama’s legacy and those who prioritize beating Trump. Democratic primary voters favoring a new approach give roughly equal support to Biden, Warren, and Sanders.

Conducted September 29-October 2, 2019 under the joint direction of Beacon Research (D) and Shaw & Company (R), this Fox News Poll includes interviews with 1,512 Wisconsin voters who spoke with live interviewers on both landlines and cellphones. Respondents were randomly selected from a statewide voter file, and 663 were screened to identify potential participants in the Democratic presidential primary. The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points for all registered voters and 3.5 points for Democratic primary voters.

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