Biden's Classified Docs: Much Ado About Nothing?
The latest polls show that revelations that the President mishandled classified documents have had little to no impact
Just weeks ago, Washington, D.C., was in a familiar frenzy. A metastasizing scandal was embroiling President Biden’s White House. There were questions about what the White House knew and when they knew it in relation to the classified documents found in the President’s home and office. The White House Press Corps was shouting down the Press Secretary. There was blood in the water, and the sharks were en route as the pundits began to speculate about the political impacts of the scandal du jour.
Had Biden let Trump off the hook?
Did he squander his momentum?
Should Biden even run for reelection?
The documents issue is serious. The White House’s response hasn't been perfect.And no one wants a special counsel digging around, looking for a crime to charge. But we now have some actual data on how the public views Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents, and we can now draw conclusions about how this is playing out. And lo and behold, all of that political panic may have been for naught.
What the Polls Say About Biden
In the immediate aftermath of the revelations about Biden mishandling classified documents, several snap polls showed large majorities disapproved of Biden’s handling of the matter. These polls were cited as evidence that the President was in hot water. Of course, people disapproved! Why wouldn’t they? By his own admission, President Biden stored documents in places he was not legally allowed to store them. Who would approve that? Okay, maybe Donald Trump, but no one else. That poll finding is interesting but it is hardly instructive. Like a lot of media polling, its purpose is content and clicks — not informing the masses.
Below the headlines, it’s clear the impact from the revelations will likely be minimal.
The easiest and best way to measure the political impact of an event is by tracking a politician’s approval rating. In other words, did new information cause voters to change their opinion? Do they now like that politician more or less?
Well, two weeks of intense coverage about his handling of classified documents has not done damage to the President. Both the CBS News/YouGov and Navigator polls show no change in Biden’s approval rating. In the NBC poll, disapproval of Biden is down three points since November, and approval is up one.
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