Winning a presidential election in a competitive race is no easy feat. Even more troublesome is doing so while more than half of the nation believes you were involved in an “illegal cover-up.” And yet this is the very situation in which President Joe Biden finds himself. The latest polling from Rasmussen suggests that a whopping 60% of Americans suspect the current president of dodgy dealings alongside his son, Hunter. But will this turn out to be a fatal electoral impediment in a country where party affiliation trumps all else?
Tough Times for Biden
At the end of July – just before Devon Archer delivered his bombshell testimony – Rasmussen asked more than 1,000 likely voters the following question: “How likely is it that Joe Biden has been part of an illegal cover-up to hide his involvement in his son Hunter’s foreign business deals?”
The response might well have Democratic Party handlers revising their 2024 game plan.
Sixty percent said that Biden’s involvement was “likely” (with 45% saying “very likely”). Just 33% said that it was either “not very likely” or “not likely at all.” The remaining 5% were not sure one way or the other. Nearly double the number of respondents believe the sitting president was criminally involved in his son’s business dealings: a rare occurrence, indeed, made rarer by the fact that a similar number believe that a stench of criminality also surrounds the former president and 2024 hopeful, Donald Trump.
Digging into the crosstabs paints a bleak picture for Team Biden’s efforts to keep the White House. One would expect a certain amount of partisanship in any polling; however, mistrust of the president does not appear to be a strictly partisan affair.
The party affiliation of the polled voters shows 36% are Democrats, 33% are Republicans, and 31% are listed as “other.” A huge 81% of GOP voters agreed it was “likely” or “very likely” that Biden was up to his neck in fiscal shenanigans. For Democrats, that figure was 36% – with more than half of that number saying it was “very likely.” In fact, just 53% of the Democrat voters disagreed – not the most resounding endorsement for the party’s almost-certain nominee.
Rasmussen asked two other questions during this poll: one regarding Biden participating in phone calls on behalf of Hunter’s business enterprises, and the other concerning a statement recently made by Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). He said: “[Joe Biden had done] something we have not seen since Richard Nixon: Use the weaponization of government to benefit his family and deny Congress the ability to have the oversight.” Respondents were again asked to what degree they agree with that statement.
Fifty-eight percent agreed that this was an accurate assessment, with 82% of GOP supporters backing it, and 33% of Democrats joining. Just 35% felt this was not the case. As the House GOP continues its various investigations into both the Hunter Biden scandal and Joe Biden’s alleged weaponization of the government – as noted in both the Twitter and Facebook Files releases – one wonders how much longer the roughly one-third of voters who disagree will maintain their position.
A Tough Hill to Climb
Trump spent his time in office being accused of lies, falsities, and, of course, collusion with Russia. It impacted his 2020 electoral hopes enough to bring in the current president. Now Joe Biden faces a similar predicament. His initial denials, reaching far back into his campaign – that he knew nothing of Hunter’s business dealings – have now been revised to he knew but was not involved. It’s a clear shift in position that may be innocent enough, but it seems to the voting public to be almost a 180-degree turn.
Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche famously wrote: “I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.” Perhaps this is the pervading sentiment among American voters today. Politicians are expected to stretch the truth and at times even get caught in the occasional whopper; it’s a truism as old as politics itself. It is one thing to forgive lies told in the quest for elected office, but it is quite another to expect voters to cast their ballots in your favor after having been caught out.
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