Clearly one can give various high-minded reasons why what Trump did in relation to Ukraine/Zelensky is unforgivable, under the worst interpretation, i.e. assuming Trump pressured Zelensky by withholding aid, in order to obtain a favor that would damage a domestic political opponent.

Hower, domestic support for Trump is already on pretty partisan lines.

So I'm skeptical that the latest revelation (regarding Ukraine) is going to matter much for the following reasons:

  • Ukraine has little diaspora in the US. If Trump did the same thing (i.e. withheld aid) to, say, Israel, it could be a different matter in terms of backlash he could expect at home.

  • Some of Trump's hardcore base is energised by seeing Mexicans (and other Latin Americans) deported. This is much closer to home, i.e. whatever happens in Ukraine probably seems [to them] utterly irrelevant in comparison.

  • Given that Trump is seen (among his base) as doing the right thing by pressuring China in all sorts of ways, it may even be seen as a positive thing that he turned the thumbscrews on some other faraway country.

  • That he mixed business with pleasure (to put it euphemistically) in his reasons for pressuring Ukraine may be easily forgiven among the religious right which is already quite willing to overlook Trump's personal flaws given the benefits he is seen as bringing to the movement, i.e. "modern day Cyrus" story.

So, who in Trump's base is likely to be influenced by this Ukraine affair? Are there enough "moderates" likely to tipped over by this? Is there any evidence in polling of this being possible?

  • Or have I misread your question and are you actually asking about the phone call coming out rather than the purpose of the phone call itself?
    – JJJ
    Commented Sep 26, 2019 at 15:40
  • I see, it may be better to make explicit that these questions (I know it's tagged [public-opinion] already) ask about polling. As an objective question it seems rather speculative but of course polling data may give useful indications that help people when more objective info isn't available.
    – JJJ
    Commented Sep 26, 2019 at 15:43
  • I'm not going to edit the question because that would trigger a reopen nomination, but my skepticism is reflected in the following interviews with Trump supporters (not a representative sample, of course) bbc.com/news/av/world-us-canada-49843129/… Commented Sep 27, 2019 at 3:46
  • The BBC just loves putting these out: bbc.com/news/av/world-us-canada-49937535/… Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 4:41

1 Answer 1


I don’t think anyone really expects it to put a dent in Trump’s support among his hardest-core base, but that’s a minority of the country and their support is not enough to win reelection.

Right now, Trump’s Approval ratings are at one of their highest points in his presidency, but the Real Clear Politics average still has him underwater by 7.7%. Even with an assist from the Electoral College, Trump simply cannot win reelection with that share of the vote. If he wants to be reelected, he needs to convince people who might not fully approve of him or his performance that they should vote for him anyway because he’s better than the alternative.

By reinforcing the idea that Trump is corrupt and puts his own profit ahead of the wellbeing of the United States, this scandal has the potential to hurt him the moderates and reluctant Trump voters that he will need to overcome his low approval rating and win reelection.

Since it’s so early, there’s obviously little polling on how voters will see this scandal or the push for impeachment, but a recent poll from YouGov (performed on Tuesday, September 24th) suggests broad support for impeachment if Trump did what he is alleged to do:

55 percent of Americans said they would support impeachment if it’s confirmed that Trump did suspend aid in order to convince Ukrainian officials to investigate Link to Image

Notably, among Republicans, 32% support impeachment in these circumstances, while 49% oppose it. This is much more support than you'd expect from Trump's approval rating (which remains around 90% for Republicans). With the caveat that this is a single poll from a limited sample, it suggests that there is a significant population of Republican Trump supporters who would be willing to reconsider their support if (and that's a big if) they were convinced that Trump abused his power.

  • Frankly the column for Republicans is the most interesting in that poll: 32% (somewhat+strongly) support, 49% (somewhat+strongly) oppose impeachment, under those assumptions. Commented Sep 26, 2019 at 15:49
  • @Fizz Yeah, that's higher than I thought too
    – divibisan
    Commented Sep 26, 2019 at 15:57

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