Memo: Flash poll on circus Mayorkas

If you only read one thing… When voters are presented with a generic ballot, Democrats lead by 3 points. But when presented with a Democrat who supports the bipartisan border security bill versus a Republican who supports impeaching Mayorkas, the Democrat leads by 13 points.

Feb. 13, 2024

This Blueprint flash poll was informed by an online sample of 1,103 respondents fielded over web panels on Feb. 12 and weighted to education, gender, race, respondent quality, and 2020 election results The margin of error is +/- 4.6. The full toplines can be found here.

Tonight, House Republicans will again try to impeach Alejando Mayorkas—an unprecedented impeachment for a cabinet member who not even Republicans believe has engaged in criminal activity. As congressional chronicler Punchbowl News noted, the move highlights “House Republicans’ unyielding appetite for political drama over actual legislating.”

And indeed, House Republicans are ignoring the bipartisan Senate border security bill, which has high levels of support among voters, as we’ve previously explored. The message Republicans are sending is clear—and telling voters what they are saying is a winning play:

Republicans are willing to sacrifice our border security and fire our top border cop to win elections.
Americans are telling House Republicans to fix the problem, not use it to book themselves on primetime slots on Fox News and Newsmax.
Voters can smell BS, and will reward candidates who pursue bipartisan policy action that will fix the problem, rather than pointless theatrics.

Here, we analyze voters’ views on the Mayorkas impeachment. We find that voters prefer a focus on the Senate’s legislation over House antics, and that Democrats can contrast the Mayorkas impeachment with the Senate bill to strong effect with voters.

  • While 62% of voters have heard of the Mayorkas impeachment, few support it: only 29% of voters say they support impeaching Mayorkas, while 36% oppose and 35% express no opinion. Among independent voters, 32% oppose impeachment, and just 20% support it.
  • After hearing pro and con arguments, the majority of voters, including independents, oppose the Mayorkas impeachment (53% of all voters and 54% among independents).
  • There is strong net support among independent (+36), Democratic (+45), and Republican (+27) voters for the bipartisan border security deal.
  • By an overwhelming margin (69% to 31% among all voters, 77% to 23% among independents), voters prefer House Republicans passing the bipartisan border security deal rather than impeaching Mayorkas.
  • When voters are presented with a generic ballot, Democrats lead by 3 points. When presented with a Democrat who supports the bipartisan border bill versus a Republican who supports impeaching Mayorkas, Democrats lead by 13 points.
  • For Democrats to gain an advantage, they should continue to push for border security policy action. Democrats can begin to erode the trust advantage Republicans have on the issue by showing they are serious about action on border security policy while Republicans prefer theatrics.

HOW DEMOCRATS CAN MESSAGE THE MOMENT

The twin Republican disasters—blowing up a bipartisan deal in favor of a stunt impeachment—offer Democrats a way forward on an issue that has long advantaged Republicans. Maintaining pressure on the bipartisan border deal offers one potent path to neutralizing the issue ahead of November.

Here’s a cheat sheet for Democrats looking to do so, pulling from the top five soundbites we tested last week:

  1. “I support this deal. We need to secure the border and end the flood of illegal immigration, which is exploiting our broken asylum system. We are a nation of immigrants, and I support legal immigration, but we cannot have a legal immigration system without a secure border.”
  2. “I support this deal. Transnational gangs, drug cartels, and human traffickers are abusing our asylum system and we need to restrict eligibility. We need more judges so that we can deny false claims more quickly and end the practice of millions of asylum seekers flooding our cities. This bill will fix our broken and exploited asylum process.”
  3. “I support this deal. We need to secure the border, manage immigration into our country, and fix our broken asylum system. We are a nation of laws, and that means we must secure our border.”
  4. “I support this deal. It will make our country safer, make our border more secure, and treat people fairly and humanely while preserving legal immigration, consistent with our values as a nation. It would give me, as President, a new emergency authority to shut down the border when it becomes overwhelmed.”(President Biden)
  5. “I support this deal. There is a crisis at our border, and our bipartisan border security package fixes it. Now, senators must make a decision: pass our package and solve the crisis or accept the status quo, do nothing, and keep playing politics while our system breaks and our communities continue to suffer.” (Senator Sinema)