On Wednesday, the United States House of Representatives approved articles of impeachment on President Donald Trump.
Trump became only the third sitting US president to be impeached, joining Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton.
The President was impeached on two articles: abuse of power (230-197 “yes” vote) and obstruction (229-198 “yes” vote). The articles revolve around his alleged pressuring of Ukraine to damage a potential political rival (Joe Biden). As expected, the vote fell almost entirely along party lines.
Amazingly, like most things with Trump, the negative news did not have a negative impact on his polling data. In fact, President Trump’s 2020 election odds actually improved after being impeached. Betting markets moved his re-election odds from around even-money (+100) to -125.
How is this possible?
There’s a precedent for a popularity bump during and after impeachment proceedings. Like with many times of crisis, the party’s base tends to rally around their embattled leader.
President Clinton’s approval ratings steadily climbed during his impeachment. From October through December 1998, amid the initial House impeachment process, Clinton approached all-time polling highs. Clinton hit a peak approval of 73% right after articles of impeachment were passed on Dec. 19, 1998. His approval rating never fell below 52% in any major tracked media poll for the remainder of his presidency.
The two previously impeached presidents (Johnson and Clinton) were both eventually acquitted by the Senate. Given that Republicans hold 53 seats in the Senate, an acquittal is the most likely outcome for Trump as well.
The long-term impact then of his impeachment is likely negligible. The short-term impact has been mostly positive on his polling data. Trump’s approval rating is up over the past month to 43.4%. As expected, impeachment proceedings have only rallied and activated his base.
Biden’s election odds remain steady
Ironically, the man Trump is accused of trying to damage, Biden, is seeing a positive impact in betting markets as well. Or better put, this isn’t damaging him at all.
Biden’s campaign was losing steam over the course of the year. Sen. Elizabeth Warren had catapulted to a polling and betting favorite. While Biden’s base has remained steady and strong during Trump’s impeachment proceedings, Warren has been hit hard by the emergence of two Mayors: Pete Buttigieg and Michael Bloomberg.
Biden remains a steady +600 among betting sites. Warren has fallen from a high of +275 to around +1000 on average. Biden remains a national polling favorite, about +7% over his competitors. However, Buttigieg is making a formidable charge and now leads polling in Iowa and New Hampshire.
2020 presidential election odds
|Joe Biden (D)||-225||-225|
|Donald Trump (R)||+188||+150|
|Kamala Harris (D)||N/A||+10000|
|Mike Pence (R)||N/A||+20000|