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Respondents were asked if they preferred Trump over various former Republican presidents, including Dwight Eisenhauer, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush. Among the general electorate, Trump lost in every matchup.
But among Republicans alone, Trump won every contest except the matchup against Reagan. Curiously, though, when asked to rank the Republican presidents, Trump scored higher than Reagan.
The mainstream media expressed shock and indignation at the poll result. CNN responded with an online article, titled "Donald Trump is no Abraham Lincoln, despite poll," downplaying the survey. On CNN's "Inside Politics," John King said he was left "speechless" by the results and reprimanded Republicans to read their history.
MSNBC's Joy Reid responded by labeling Trump's supporters as a "racial and religious cult." On "CBS This Morning," historian Doris Kearns Goodwin said Trump could learn something from Lincoln, as well as from Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson.
The Economist/YouGov poll also posed questions about impeachment.
Asked "Do you think Donald Trump purposefully withheld military aid to Ukraine in order to get the President of Ukraine to investigate allegations of corruption against the Biden family?" 87% of Democrats said yes, while 3% said no; 10% said they weren't sure.
Conversely, 15% of Republicans said yes, while 70% said no, with 15% not being sure. The numbers, however, were not fully consistent with those indicating such an offense was impeachable.
On the question "If it is proven that Donald Trump purposefully withheld military aid to Ukraine in order to get the President of Ukraine to investigate allegations of corruption against the Biden family, do you think that is an impeachable offense?" Democrats responded positively, 84% to 6%, while Republicans responded negatively 73% to 14%. Independents were evenly split, 38% to 38%. More Republicans than Democrats believed the president is telling the truth about events that triggered the impeachment hearings by a margin of 66% to 15%.
The survey also found that more Americans than not (29% to 26%) believe the "deep state" is working to overthrow Trump, while 44% answered they were not sure.
On the question Ronald Reagan made famous in his debate against President Jimmy carter in 1980, "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" more Americans than not (43% to 37%) responded yes. Independents said yes by a sizeable margin — 41% to 31%.
Among all respondents, a majority believed that Trump will not be re-elected in 2020, but a majority also thought that every Democratic presidential candidate has more negatives than positives.
Though health care and the economy ranked highest on respondents' list of priorities, both Democrats and Republicans described abortion as either very important or somewhat important: 76% to 73%, respectively. More respondents disapprove than approve of Trump's handling of the abortion issue, 43% to 37%.
Pro-life Trump supporters note that President Lincoln also had problems gaining support for the preeminent moral issue of his time. The idea of freeing the slaves was unpopular before the Civil War, with much of the South threatening to secede from the Union as a result of the president's advocacy.
But, observers note, both slavery and abortion depersonalized a certain segment of the population and were rationalized and justified through a utilitarian ethic: More people were seen to benefit from the dehumanization of the vulnerable and powerless. Both issues gained popularity through the dependence they created — the economy became dependent on slavery, and sexual license on abortion.
And while the Civil War, which killed more Americans than all other wars combined, claimed 620,000 lives, abortion since Roe v. Wade has claimed more than 60 million lives, with chemical abortifacients claiming countless more.