Poll: Americans not yet sold on Biden impeachment, but nearly half think he did something 'illegal' regarding son Hunter

President Biden.
President Biden arrives at the White House on Sunday. (Andrew Harnik/AP)
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One week after House Republicans launched a long-shot impeachment inquiry into President Biden, a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll has found that most Americans are not convinced the president deserves to be charged or removed from office.

But at the same time there are signs that the GOP’s impeachment push may be starting to have one of its intended political effects: raising suspicious that Biden might also be “corrupt” ahead of what is likely to be a bruising 2024 presidential contest with former President Donald Trump, who is facing 91 criminal charges across four separate cases.

Only 37% of Americans want impeachment

The survey of 1,636 U.S. adults, which was conducted from Sept. 14 to 18, shows that just 37% of Americans currently believe Biden should be impeached, while essentially the same number (36%) say he should be “removed from office through impeachment.” (According to the U.S. Constitution, the House charges a president with “high crimes and misdemeanors” and votes to impeach; the Senate then holds a trial and votes to convict and remove the president.)

In contrast, a plurality of Americans think Biden should not be impeached (42%) or removed from office (45%). About 1 in 5 say they are not sure.

A 37% to 42% split on impeachment might seem surprisingly close, given the fact that House Republicans have yet to produce the kind of concrete evidence against Biden that triggered previous presidential impeachment proceedings. But as usual, partisan polarization accounts for nearly all pro-impeachment sentiment. Three-quarters of Republicans (74%) already think Biden should be impeached — before he’s been charged with any impeachable offenses. Just 6% of Democrats agree.

To further put those percentages into perspective, Americans approved of Trump’s impeachment involving the events of Jan. 6, 2021, by a 51% to 39% margin in a Jan. 20-21, 2021 Yahoo News/YouGov poll, with a full 53% saying Trump should be prohibited from holding office in the future.

Today Trump’s numbers are slightly lower than they were in 2021, but they remain significantly higher than Biden’s. “Looking back,” 47% of Americans now say they approve of Trump’s Jan. 6 impeachment — versus 37% who disapprove — while 46% say the Senate should have barred Trump from future office.

The problem for the current president, however, is that he doesn’t have to be impeached to be hurt by the process — and the new Yahoo News/YouGov poll suggests that Biden may already be sustaining some political damage from the steady drumbeat of headlines about his son Hunter’s legal troubles and the GOP’s efforts to implicate the elder Biden.

When asked if they think the president “did anything illegal regarding Hunter Biden,” for instance, nearly half of Americans (48%) now say yes — compared with just 31% who say he did not.

And more Americans express approval (43%) than disapproval (38%) when asked about “the U.S. House of Representatives launching an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden over his son Hunter’s business dealings,” suggesting some openness to letting the process play out.

Little support for Hunter Biden

One thing Americans are increasingly clear about is believing Hunter Biden broke the law. (Hunter was indicted just before the Yahoo News/YouGov poll went into the field last week for allegedly lying about his drug use when purchasing a gun.)

More than two-thirds (67%) of all Americans — up from 64% last month and 51% last October — now believe Hunter “definitely” or “probably” did something “illegal,” a sentiment that includes a majority of Democrats (55%) and nearly 9 in 10 Republicans (88%).

As a result, most Americans (62%) approve of Hunter’s just-announced indictment on gun charges, while only 13% disapprove and 24% are not sure. Support for that indictment is nearly universal among Republicans (86%), but it also includes almost half of Democrats (45%).

A majority (55%) of Americans — including 87% of Republicans and 57% of independents — also think Hunter should be indicted for his “foreign business deals,” which have long drawn accusations of influence peddling. (The previous Yahoo News/YouGov poll found that a full 59% of Americans believe Hunter “traded on his family name and proximity to power to get millions of dollars from foreign business associates.”)

Opposition to indicting Hunter Biden for his foreign business deals stands at just 13%, while uncertainty is greater (33%) — in large part because a plurality of Democrats (45%) say they’re not sure.

Do Americans think the president was involved?

The big question going forward is whether Americans can be convinced that Joe Biden was “involved” in such deals — the crux of the GOP’s impeachment inquiry.

So far, more Americans say yes (41%) than no (31%) — but a high number of not sures (28%) means the yeses are still far from a majority. On the related question of whether “Joe Biden made money off of Hunter Biden’s foreign business deals” the yeses are a little higher (43%) and the nos are a little lower (28%). The not sures, however, remain at 28%.

Again, partisanship is driving much of the perception that the president was involved in or profited off his son’s schemes. Among 2020 Trump voters, for example, 91% think Joe Biden did something illegal regarding Hunter Biden (71% say he “definitely” did something illegal); 85% think the president was involved in his son’s foreign business deals; and 85% think the president made money off those deals.

Even generally, on a question asked before the survey turned to Hunter Biden, 83% of 2020 Trump voters say yes when asked if “Joe Biden has committed a serious crime at any time in his life.”

One thing for the White House to worry about

The corresponding numbers among independents — who tend to swing elections one way or the other — are not particularly encouraging for the president. By a nearly 2-to-1 margin (54% to 24%), they now believe Biden did something illegal regarding his son.

Last month that gap was narrower among independents: 47% to 25%. Largely as a result of this shift, the overall number of Americans who now think Biden did something illegal regarding Hunter has ticked up 4 percentage points to 48%.

Likewise, nearly half of Americans (47%) now think Biden and his family are corrupt, up from 45% in August and 42% in October 2022. Asked last month which family was “more corrupt,” 46% said the Trumps and 36% said the Bidens. Those numbers are now closer as well: 41% and 38%, respectively.

Perhaps relatedly, Biden led Trump last month by a solid margin (47% to 41%) in a hypothetical Election Day matchup between the 2024 Democratic and Republican frontrunners.

Now they are tied at 44% apiece among registered voters.


The Yahoo News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,636 U.S. adults interviewed online from Sept. 14 to 18, 2023. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, 2020 election turnout and presidential vote, baseline party identification and current voter registration status. Demographic weighting targets come from the 2019 American Community Survey. Baseline party identification is the respondent’s most recent answer given prior to March 15, 2022, and is weighted to the estimated distribution at that time (32% Democratic, 27% Republican). Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all U.S. adults. The margin of error is approximately 2.7%.