It’s a tale of two headlines.
After conducting a joint poll that asked about the scandals surrounding President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, the Associated Press and NORC at the University of Chicago — one of the nation’s largest independent social research organizations — presented the results using two very different tones.
The headline from the AP reads, “Hunter Biden investigations lead to ethical concerns about President Biden, an AP-NORC poll shows.”
Compare that to NORC’s headline about the very same poll, and the AP spin becomes apparent: “Most say Biden has acted either illegally or unethically in his son’s business dealings.”
“Ethical concerns are casting a shadow over President Joe Biden as he seeks reelection amid investigations into his son Hunter and an impeachment inquiry, with a poll showing that 35% of U.S. adults believe the president himself has done something illegal,” Josh Boak and Linley Sanders wrote for the Associated Press. “An additional 33% say they think the Democratic president behaved unethically, but not illegally. And 30% say Joe Biden did nothing wrong, according to the poll.”
Meanwhile, NORC reported, “Most adults say President Biden has at the very least acted unethically in his handling of the international business dealings of his son Hunter, including about a third who say he did something illegal. Only 30% of the public think Biden has done nothing wrong regarding Hunter’s business dealings.”
The fact is, 68% of adults in America believe that President Biden either broke the law or behaved unethically — a number that, in a sane world, would end Biden’s quest for a second term.
But this is far from a sane world, and according to NORC, “while most believe the current president acted illegally or unethically, only a third approve of the impeachment inquiry undertaken by the House of Representatives into Biden’s potential involvement.”
To be fair, NORC adds, “A similar percentage of adults (67%) said former President Donald Trump acted unethically or illegally in his interactions with the president of Ukraine according to an AP-NORC poll taken in October 2019, with 38% believing he acted illegally.”
“In the same poll,” NORC continues, “about 69% said Hunter Biden acted inappropriately by serving on the board of a Ukrainian energy company while his father was vice president.”
Jazz Shaw, writing for Hot Air, was more concerned with those Americans who still believe Biden did nothing wrong.
“What boggles my mind about this poll is the 33% of respondents who said that Joe Biden ‘did nothing wrong,'” Shaw wrote. “What planet are these people from and do they ever watch anything on television other than reruns of Sex and the City?”
Boak and Sanders focused on party lines to explain Biden’s poor numbers, arguing, “The survey’s findings point toward a U.S. political system riven with cynicism and suspicion. Having fractured along partisan lines, the public largely appears to judge Joe Biden as much based on his party affiliation as the known facts.”
“Roughly two-thirds of Republicans say they think Joe Biden is guilty of crimes pertaining to his son, but only 8% of Democrats and 38% of independents agree,” they continued. “About an additional third in each party say they think Joe Biden at least did something unethical. A solid majority of Democrats (58%) maintain that the president did nothing wrong.”
“Republicans have been investigating Hunter Biden for years, since his father was vice president,” they wrote. “While questions have arisen about the ethics surrounding the Biden family’s international business, no evidence has emerged so far to prove that Joe Biden, in his current or previous office, abused his role or accepted bribes.”
NORC was less willing to blame the GOP, noting instead that Americans don’t have much faith in either party.
“Overall, there is little agreement on which party would be better at dealing with government corruption and 38% feel neither party is equipped for the job,” it wrote. “More than half of Democrats trust their party to do a better job, while Republicans are more closely divided on whether their party or neither party would do a better job.”
Unlike its poll partner, the AP was more concerned with bolstering Biden’s image than it was with America’s thoughts on the matter.
“Joe Biden has said only that he loves and supports his son, whose drug addiction has formed the basis of a gun charge against him,” Boak and Sanders wrote. “Hunter Biden was silent for years as Republican attacks swirled, but has now gone on the offensive. He is suing operatives who obtained and spread his personal data. That data has been used in the GOP probes, including embarrassing images that were shown in House committee hearings.”
“The president has said little in an effort to avoid any appearance that he is meddling in the Justice Department probe,” they continued. “But it hasn’t been taken that way by some voters, who see the mere existence of the investigation as proof of their own beliefs that politicians are instinctively underhanded.”
What the numbers actually revealed, they suggested, is the GOP’s desire to “distract” from their own criminal pursuits.
“With their investigation,” Boak and Sanders concluded, “GOP lawmakers are seeking in part to distract from the increasing legal peril of GOP front-runner Trump, who is facing four criminal cases, including a federal indictment accusing him of working to overturn the results of the 2020 election in the run-up to the violent riot by his supporters at the U.S. Capitol. Trump continues to claim — wrongly — that the election was stolen, even in the face of the mounting charges against him.”