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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Polls and Public Opinion"

Pete Buttigieg Jumps Out to Lead in Iowa Poll

Westlake Legal Group merlin_162874992_cc8f58c0-1b2f-42cc-a719-b7d0bd11c395-facebookJumbo Pete Buttigieg Jumps Out to Lead in Iowa Poll Warren, Elizabeth Sanders, Bernard Polls and Public Opinion Des Moines Register Democratic Party Buttigieg, Pete (1982- ) Biden, Joseph R Jr

DES MOINES — Pete Buttigieg continues to surge in Iowa, leapfrogging Senator Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to hold a commanding lead among likely Democratic caucusgoers, according to a new poll from The Des Moines Register and CNN.

The poll showed that Mr. Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Ind., was the first choice for 25 percent of would-be Democratic caucusgoers, a significant increase from the 9 percent he held in September, when The Register last polled the state. The support placed him far ahead of the rest of the field — with the other three top candidates in a virtual tie for second: Ms. Warren at 16 percent and Mr. Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders at 15 percent.

The results are the latest evidence of Mr. Buttigieg’s strength in Iowa, where his moderate political views, plain-spoken style and military history have resonated in the early voting state. Since September, when he placed fourth in the Register poll, he has more than doubled his on-the-ground staff to over 100 and has opened more than 20 field offices. He recently completed another bus tour in the state.

Speaking to reporters in Long Beach, Calif., on Saturday night during the state’s Democratic convention, Mr. Buttigieg said the just-released poll numbers were “extremely encouraging.”

“We have felt a lot of momentum on the ground,” he said.

His rise also suggests that voters, in Iowa at least, are increasingly favoring a centrist agenda — a view that has drawn two new entrants, Deval Patrick, the former governor of Massachusetts, and Michael R. Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, into the race this month.

The poll results reflect the deep split within the Democratic Party over whether it is veering too far to the left to defeat President Trump. Speaking on Friday to a room of wealthy liberal donors, former President Barack Obama expressed concern about some of the policy ideas being promoted by some of the candidates, citing health care and immigration as issues where the proposals may not align with public opinion.

Though he did not single out any candidates directly, his remarks were seen as an implicit criticism of Mr. Sanders and Ms. Warren, two of the leading candidates who are pushing policy plans once considered too liberal, like “Medicare for all,” with the broader goal of “political revolution” and “big, structural change.”

“Even as we push the envelope and we are bold in our vision we also have to be rooted in reality,” Mr. Obama said. “The average American doesn’t think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it.”

Ms. Warren, who led the Register’s September poll, with 22 percent, fell 6 percentage points. Her poll numbers are now roughly what they were in June, when she was at 15 percent. Mr. Sanders, who suffered a heart attack shortly after the last poll results were released, climbed 4 percentage points.

Mr. Biden, who has seen his standing in Iowa slowly slip, dropped 5 percentage points.

In addition to identifying a new Iowa front-runner, the poll has once again delineated a clear divide between the top tier of Democratic candidates — Mr. Buttigieg, Ms. Warren, Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanders — and the rest of the field. The next-closest candidate in the poll was Senator Amy Klobuchar, with 6 percent, followed by a cluster of White House hopefuls with 3 percent, including Senator Cory Booker, Senator Kamala Harris and Andrew Yang.

Mr. Bloomberg, who has suggested he would skip the first four early nominating states, including Iowa, if he were to officially enter the race, was at 2 percent.

Jennifer Medina contributed reporting from Long Beach, Calif.

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Buttigieg Jumps Out to Lead in Iowa Poll

Westlake Legal Group merlin_162874992_cc8f58c0-1b2f-42cc-a719-b7d0bd11c395-facebookJumbo Buttigieg Jumps Out to Lead in Iowa Poll Warren, Elizabeth Sanders, Bernard Polls and Public Opinion Des Moines Register Democratic Party Buttigieg, Pete (1982- ) Biden, Joseph R Jr

DES MOINES — Pete Buttigieg continues to surge in Iowa, leapfrogging Senator Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to hold a commanding lead among likely Democratic caucusgoers, according to a new poll from The Des Moines Register and CNN.

The poll showed that Mr. Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Ind., was the first choice for 25 percent of would-be Democratic caucusgoers, a significant increase from the 9 percent he held in September, when The Register last polled the state. The support placed him far ahead of the rest of the field — with the other three top candidates in a virtual tie for second: Ms. Warren, at 16 percent and Mr. Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders at 15 percent.

The results are the latest evidence of Mr. Buttigieg’s strength in Iowa, where his moderate political views, plain-spoken style and military history have resonated in the early voting state. Since September, when he placed fourth in the Register poll, he has more than doubled his on-the-ground staff to over 100 and has opened more than 20 field offices. He recently completed another bus tour in the state.

Speaking to reporters in Long Beach, Calif., on Saturday night during the state’s Democratic convention, Mr. Buttigieg said the just-released poll numbers were “extremely encouraging.”

“We have felt a lot of momentum on the ground,” he said.

His rise also suggests that voters, in Iowa at least, are increasingly favoring a centrist agenda — a view that has drawn two new entrants, Deval Patrick, the former governor of Massachusetts, and Michael R. Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, — into the race this month.

The poll results reflect the deep split within the Democratic Party over whether it is veering too far to the left to defeat President Trump. Speaking on Friday to a room of wealthy liberal donors, former President Barack Obama expressed concern about some of the policy ideas being promoted by some of the candidates, citing health care and immigration as issues where the proposals may not align with public opinion.

Though he did not single out any candidates directly, his remarks were seen as an implicit criticism of Mr. Sanders and Ms. Warren, two of the leading candidates who are pushing policy plans once considered too liberal, like “Medicare for all,” with the broader goal of “political revolution” and “big, structural change.”

“Even as we push the envelope and we are bold in our vision we also have to be rooted in reality,” Mr. Obama said. “The average American doesn’t think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it.”

Ms. Warren, who led the Register’s September poll, with 22 percent, fell 6 percentage points. Her poll numbers are now roughly what they were in June, when she was at 15 percent. Mr. Sanders, who suffered a heart attack shortly after the last poll results were released, climbed 4 percentage points.

Mr. Biden, who has seen his standing in Iowa slowly slip, dropped 5 percentage points.

In addition to identifying a new Iowa front-runner, the poll has once again delineated a clear divide between the top tier of Democratic candidates — Mr. Buttigieg, Ms. Warren, Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanders — and the rest of the field. The next-closest candidate in the poll was Senator Amy Klobuchar, with 6 percent, followed by a cluster of White House hopefuls with 3 percent, including Senator Cory Booker, Senator Kamala Harris and Andrew Yang.

Mr. Bloomberg, who has suggested he would skip the first four early nominating states, including Iowa, was at 2 percent.

Jennifer Medina contributed reporting from Long Beach, Calif.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Why the Economy Might Not Sway 2020 Voters

Westlake Legal Group 29survey1-facebookJumbo Why the Economy Might Not Sway 2020 Voters United States Economy Trump, Donald J Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 Polls and Public Opinion International Trade and World Market Democratic Party Consumer Confidence (Economic Indicator)

Americans’ views of the economy have become so hardened along partisan lines that the economy may matter less in next year’s presidential election than in the past.

Both major political parties have emphasized the economy in the early stages of the campaign. Republicans hope that a rock-bottom unemployment rate and rising wages will cause voters to stick with President Trump despite the various scandals enveloping his administration. Democrats believe high levels of income inequality and fears of a looming recession will make voters willing to consider a new direction.

Surveys suggest that those arguments are resonating — but only with voters already inclined to agree with them. Republicans consistently say the economy is doing well and give Mr. Trump strong marks for his stewardship. Democrats are much more pessimistic, and, to the extent they do believe the economy is strong, doubt that Mr. Trump deserves much credit.

And notably, neither group’s views have shifted much in response to changing economic conditions. Earlier this month, for example, 71 percent of Republicans said they expected business conditions to be “very” or “somewhat” good over the next year, compared with just 15 percent of Democrats who said so, according to a survey conducted for The New York Times by the online research platform SurveyMonkey. Those numbers are virtually unchanged from two years ago, before trade tensions and other factors began to drag down the manufacturing sector and weaken the broader economy.

Economic conditions have historically been among the best predictors of presidential elections, and models based on those patterns suggest that Mr. Trump would be favored to win re-election if the economy remains more or less on its current path through Election Day.

But it is unclear whether historical lessons hold in an era of heightened partisanship.

“The predictive power of the economy is weakening as polarization increases,” said Amber Wichowsky, a political scientist at Marquette University who has studied how economic issues affect voters’ political views. “Partisans have a strong desire to interpret the economy in a way that benefits their ‘team.’”

Franklin Fullerton works in sales for a conveyor-belt manufacturer outside Charlotte, N.C. David Kugler is a materials manager for a packaging manufacturer near Allentown, Pa. The two men, both participants in the Times survey, are close in age — 61 and 58 — and say they are financially stable. But they have very different political views, and very different views of the economy.

Mr. Fullerton, who usually votes for Democrats, said business had slowed since last year. His company imports many of its parts, he said, and it has had to raise prices to cover the cost of tariffs, in some cases by as much as 15 percent. He said that he did not yet see evidence of a recession, but that he was watching warily.

“I would think twice about doing any major home renovation or anything, probably,” he said. “It enters your mind, whereas last year it wouldn’t really have entered your mind.”

Mr. Kugler’s company has also been affected by tariffs. But he said that business over all remained strong, and that the local economy had improved since Mr. Trump took office. And Mr. Kugler, a conservative Republican, said Mr. Trump’s trade policies were worth any short-term cost.

“It’s hard sometimes, but for the long haul I think it’s the right thing to do,” he said. “What China’s doing to us is just outright criminal.”

Mr. Kugler said the economy was the most important issue to him, and said he would consider rethinking his support for Mr. Trump if conditions soured — he just doesn’t expect that to happen. Mr. Fullerton, too, said he tried to evaluate evidence objectively, though he acknowledged that his political views probably affected his interpretation.

“I’m sure I’m human, and I probably don’t always see both sides of everything,” Mr. Fullerton said. “I think I’m guilty of it. But I try to be aware of it.”

The partisan divide in consumer confidence is a relatively new phenomenon. In the early 1980s, Democrats and Republicans largely saw eye to eye on the state of the economy, according to the University of Michigan’s long-running survey of consumer sentiment. By the 2000s, a gap had emerged, with partisans tending to view the economy more positively when their preferred party was in power. The gulf has only widened since.

“They’re seeing everything through the partisan lens right now,” said Laura Wronski, a research scientist for SurveyMonkey. She noted that the partisanship dwarfed even factors likely to have a bigger impact on people’s financial well-being, like education, income and employment status.

Partisanship hasn’t completely drowned out economic reality. Measures of consumer confidence have ebbed a bit over the past year, as tariffs and other factors have led to slower growth. And confidence dipped more substantially in January, when the partial government shutdown temporarily idled hundreds of thousands of federal workers, and again when recession fears dominated headlines in late summer. In both cases, however, confidence quickly rebounded.

Economists and political scientists say an outright recession would almost certainly erode consumers’ confidence, regardless of their political views. But the current economy leaves enough room for interpretation. Republicans can point to the low unemployment rate and strong stock market. Democrats can point to slower hiring and a weakening manufacturing sector.

“You could see how different people who aren’t experts could look at the economy and reach different conclusions based on their partisanship,” said Peter K. Enns, who leads the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at Cornell University.

One group of voters is less likely to view the economy through a partisan lens: independents. Only about 15 percent of registered voters report being independents without a preference for either party, but they could prove decisive in next year’s election. Their assessment of the economy hasn’t moved much during Mr. Trump’s term, either, but their views have generally been closer to those of Democrats than of Republicans.

“Independents seem to register the onset of a recession more quickly,” he said. “If independents are leaning closer to Democrats on the pessimism side, that bodes poorly for Trump.”

Scott Baughan, an independent voter and self-described moderate in Detroit, said he had mixed feelings about Mr. Trump’s economic stewardship. He said the 2017 tax law had helped the economy, but he criticized it for not doing more to help the middle class. He said Mr. Trump was right to get tough on China, but said he didn’t think the tariffs had been executed effectively.

“It’s not exactly what I’d call a coherent strategy,” he said.

Mr. Baughan, a 27-year-old medical student, didn’t vote for either major-party candidate in 2016 and hasn’t decided how he will vote in 2020. The economy will be one factor in his decision, he said, but right now it isn’t pushing him strongly in either direction. He dismissed the claims of Trump supporters who say the economy is the best it’s ever been, and those of critics who have been predicting a recession for months. He compared Democrats and Republicans to two people each looking through one lens of a pair of 3-D glasses.

“Each side is seeing half the picture and completely unaware that the other half exists,” he said.

About the survey: The data in this article came from an online survey of 2,701 adults conducted by the polling firm SurveyMonkey from Oct. 7 to Oct. 13. The company selected respondents at random from the nearly three million people who take surveys on its platform each day. Responses were weighted to match the demographic profile of the population of the United States. The survey has a modeled error estimate (similar to a margin of error in a standard telephone poll) of plus or minus three percentage points, so differences of less than that amount are statistically insignificant.

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Warren Draws Fire From All Sides, Reflecting a Shift in Fortunes in Race

Westlake Legal Group 15debate-ledeall1-facebookJumbo-v2 Warren Draws Fire From All Sides, Reflecting a Shift in Fortunes in Race Warren, Elizabeth United States Politics and Government Sanders, Bernard Polls and Public Opinion Ohio Klobuchar, Amy Health Insurance and Managed Care Harris, Kamala D Democratic Party Debates (Political) Buttigieg, Pete (1982- ) Booker, Cory A Biden, Joseph R Jr

WESTERVILLE, OHIO — Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts faced a sustained barrage of criticism from her Democratic rivals at a presidential debate in Ohio on Tuesday, tangling with a group of underdog moderates who assailed her liberal economic proposals, while former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. appeared to fade from the fray after parrying President Trump’s attacks on his family.

The debate confirmed that the primary race had entered a new phase, defined by Ms. Warren’s apparent strength and the increasing willingness of other Democrats to challenge her. She has risen toward the top of the polls while confronting limited resistance from her opponents, and in past debates she attracted a fraction of the hostility that Democrats trained on Mr. Biden.

That changed in a dramatic fashion on Tuesday, when a group of her rivals voiced sharp skepticism of Ms. Warren’s agenda or accused her of taking impractical stances on issues like health care and taxation. Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., insistently charged Ms. Warren with evading a “yes-or-no” question on how she would pay for a “Medicare for all” health care system, while Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota cast parts of Ms. Warren’s platform as a “pipe dream.” Former Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas branded Ms. Warren’s worldview as overly “punitive.”

Ms. Warren sought at every turn to dispense with her critics by casting them as lacking ambition or political grit. When she addressed criticism of her proposal to tax vast private fortunes, for instance, Ms. Warren suggested her opponents believed it was “more important to protect billionaires than it is to invest in an entire generation” but did not single out her rivals.

The debate unfolded in a drastically altered political landscape, with Mr. Trump facing impeachment and Mr. Biden in the center of a firestorm over his son’s financial overseas financial dealings. The candidates were prompted to cover a wide range of issues, including a number that had featured little or not at all in past debates, such as the impeachment of Mr. Trump, the Turkish invasion of Syria and the details of gun control policy and the taxation of great wealth.

The moderators began with a series of questions about impeachment to each of the 12 candidates — the largest field ever for a primary debate — affording them an opportunity to denounce Mr. Trump. And Mr. Biden was quickly asked about his son Hunter Biden’s overseas financial work, delivering a narrow, repetitive answer in which he said neither he nor his son had done anything wrong.

Foreign policy played a greater role on Tuesday evening than in any other debate, pushed to the political foreground by the renewed outbreak of war and humanitarian catastrophe in Syria. The Democrats chiefly trained their attention on Mr. Trump’s role in instigating the crisis there: For instance, Julián Castro, the former housing secretary, condemned Mr. Trump for “caging kids on the border and letting ISIS prisoners run free” in Syria.

With Mr. Biden a diminished force, Mr. Buttigieg and Ms. Klobuchar appeared determined to present themselves as strong alternatives for voters in the middle. Both emphasized their Midwestern credentials, and Mr. Buttigieg invoked his experience as a military veteran in several wide-ranging answers on foreign policy.

Their new aggressiveness represented a shorter-term calculation about halting Ms. Warren’s increasing strength in Iowa. With Ms. Warren gaining there, Ms. Klobuchar and Ms. Buttigieg plainly decided to target her in an effort to appeal to the state’s moderate voters, who so far have lined up with Mr. Biden.

With a powerfully funded campaign and an expanding field operation in Iowa, Mr. Buttigieg may be uniquely well positioned to cut into Mr. Biden’s blocs of support in the leadoff caucus state.

In an intense argument that reflected their changing fortunes in the race, Mr. Biden briefly went on the offensive against Ms. Warren toward the end of the debate, describing her health care plans as “vague” and demanding in a raised voice that she give him some credit for her signature accomplishment, the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau after the 2008 financial crisis. Ms. Warren expressed gratitude for the help she had received — not from Mr. Biden but from former President Barack Obama.

But Ms. Warren was on the defensive for much of the evening and most of all on the issue of single-payer health care, when she again declined to specify precisely how she would fund a sweeping system of government-backed insurance. Unlike Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Ms. Warren has not acknowledged in plain terms that a “Medicare for all” plan would quite likely have to substitute broad-based taxes for private insurance premiums and other costs.

“I will not sign a bill into law that does not lower costs for middle-class families,” Ms. Warren said, declining to elaborate.

Ms. Klobuchar, in her most assertive debate performance yet, chided Ms. Warren for not explaining to voters “where we’re going to send the invoice” for single-payer care.

“At least Bernie’s being honest here,” Ms. Klobuchar said.

Ms. Warren was squeezed, at times, from the left as well: While Mr. Sanders never broke their informal nonaggression pact, he agreed with several of the moderates that it was “appropriate” to enumerate the financial trade-offs involved in single-payer health care, including taxes on Americans that would be “substantially less than what they were paying for premiums and out-of-pocket expenses.”

And while Mr. Sanders, who had a heart attack this month, was forced to address new concerns about his health, his campaign aides confirmed during the debate that he had secured an endorsement from Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York that could inject new energy into his candidacy.

But there were also the germs of a broader debate about the role of the United States in the Middle East: In an intense exchange between the two military veterans onstage, Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii said that it was not only Mr. Trump who had “the blood of the Kurds on his hands,” but also politicians in both parties and news media organizations that had cheered for “regime change war.”

Her remarks drew forceful pushback from Mr. Buttigieg, who said Ms. Gabbard was “dead wrong,” arguing that “the slaughter going on in Syria is not a consequence of American presence — it a consequence of a withdrawal and a betrayal by this president of American allies and American values.”

While Mr. Biden and Ms. Warren did not clash directly over foreign policy, they diverged in a stark fashion over the situation in Syria. Mr. Biden said he would want to keep American troops there and convey to the Turkish government that it would pay a “heavy price” for its invasion. Ms. Warren said she opposed Mr. Trump’s handling of the situation but believed the United States should “get out of the Middle East.”

Throughout the evening, Mr. Biden played a far less central role than he did in past debates, stepping to the foreground for exchanges over foreign policy but otherwise taking a more passive approach. His most important moment of the night may have come early on, when he was pressed by a moderator to explain why his son had not crossed any ethical lines by doing business in Ukraine while his father was overseeing diplomacy there for the Obama administration.

Mr. Biden said several times that he and his son had done “nothing wrong,” and alluded repeatedly to an interview Hunter Biden gave to ABC News, in which he said it had been an error in judgment to sit on the board of a Ukrainian gas company while the elder Mr. Biden was vice president. Mr. Trump has accused the Bidens of corruption, often in false or exaggerated terms, and his efforts to enlist the government of Ukraine in tarring Mr. Biden instigated an impeachment inquiry.

“This is about Trump’s corruption,” Mr. Biden said. “That’s what we should be focusing on.”

None of Mr. Biden’s Democratic rivals chose to press the subject, reflecting both the political sensitivity of issues touching on Mr. Biden’s family and also a calculation, by his most immediate rivals, that Mr. Biden is likely to continue sinking in the race without a further onslaught from fellow Democrats. While a number of candidates are hoping to peel away moderate voters from Mr. Biden, they tried to do so on Tuesday by challenging the left rather than by blasting the leading candidate of the center.

Defending his political stature, Mr. Biden at one point described himself as “the only one on this stage who has gotten anything really big done,” and cited his work on the Violence Against Women Act and the Obama administration’s health care law.

That argument drew a fierce response from Mr. Sanders, who said Mr. Biden had also achieved far less laudable feats, like the passage of the NAFTA trade deal and a law tightening the federal bankruptcy code. “You got the disastrous war in Iraq done,” Mr. Sanders said.

And Ms. Warren, too, took issue with Mr. Biden’s claim, pointing to her role as the architect of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — an agency, she said, that represented “structural change in our economy.” In a moment of crackling tension, Mr. Biden raised his voice and urged Ms. Warren to give him credit, too, for the birth of the agency.

“I went onto the floor and got you votes,” he said.

Ms. Warren retorted by saying she was “deeply grateful for President Obama, who fought so hard to make sure that agency was passed into law,” as well as for others in the administration who did the same.

Just as striking as the offensives by Ms. Klobuchar and Mr. Buttigieg were the more passive showings by Senators Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris — both of whom were counting on a strong outing.

Mr. Booker repeatedly said the focus of the debate should be on Mr. Trump. He denounced the moderators’ questions about Mr. Biden’s son. “The only person sitting at home enjoying that was Donald Trump,” Mr. Booker said.

And he even defended the fitness of the septuagenarian candidates onstage — Mr. Biden, Mr. Sanders and Ms. Warren — by noting that Mr. Trump would be the least healthy candidate running in 2020. Ms. Harris also mostly trained her fire on the president, at one point using her new catch line: “Dude gotta go.”

The only moment when Ms. Harris showed any appetite for tangling with the other candidates was when she demanded to know why Ms. Warren would not join her in urging Twitter to remove the president’s account.

Ms. Harris seemed more focus on trying to build support with women, as she spoke most forcefully about the importance of defending abortion rights. “It is her body, it is her right, it is her decision,” she said.

After presenting her message at the previous three debates with only intermittent challenges from her rivals, Ms. Warren was met with cutting criticism of her signature populist flourishes.

“I want to give a reality check to Elizabeth,” said Ms. Klobuchar, before alluding to another candidate onstage, the hedge fund executive Tom Steyer. “No one on this stage wants to protect billionaires. Not even the billionaire wants to protect billionaires. We just have different approaches.”

Mr. Buttigieg was just as pointed, repeatedly casting Ms. Warren as a “Washington politician,” but he and Ms. Klobuchar were not alone. Even lagging candidates such as former Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas and Andrew Yang, a former tech entrepreneur, took on Ms. Warren, all but confirming her front-runner status.

Mr. Sanders was not as ubiquitous a presence as he had been at past debates, but he drew applause by pre-empting a question about his health. “I’m healthy, I’m feeling great,” he said before vowing “a vigorous campaign.”

That, Mr. Sanders said, “is how I think I can reassure the American people.”

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Warren Comes Under Fire on Funding for Health Care Plan

WESTERVILLE, Ohio — Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, an emerging front-runner in the Democratic presidential race, battled sustained criticism from her Democratic rivals over her position on health care in a debate on Tuesday night, squeezed by a combination of moderate and progressive opponents who pressed her to describe in plain terms how she would fund a “Medicare for all”-style system.

Ms. Warren, who has endorsed a proposal by Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont for single-payer care, has consistently refused to say that she would embrace middle-class tax increases to finance the plan. She maintained that practiced position on the stage in Ohio, vowing that she would lower health care costs for all but the wealthy yet repeatedly sidestepping the question of whether she would enact a broad-based tax increase.

“I will not sign a bill into law that does not lower costs for middle-class families,” Ms. Warren said, declining to go into detail. But the answer failed to keep her foes at bay, and for the first time in the race Ms. Warren found herself assailed from multiple sides over an extended period in the debate. Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., accused her of evading “a yes-or-no question,” while Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota called the single-payer proposal backed by Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders a “pipe dream.”

Ms. Klobuchar reserved her sharpest words, however, for only one of those two progressives. “At least Bernie’s being honest here,” Ms. Klobuchar said, challenging Ms. Warren to tell voters “where we’re going to send the invoice” for single-payer care.

Ms. Warren was not alone in facing scrutiny early in the debate: Joseph R. Biden Jr. was quickly pressed on the issue of his son Hunter and his work for a Ukrainian gas company while his father was vice president. Mr. Biden responded to a question about his son’s overseas work in narrow and repetitive terms, saying several times that he and his son had done “nothing wrong.”

The drawn-out argument over health care captured one of the defining themes in the Democratic race: the ideological divide over the best way to provide universal coverage, and over the proper scale and cost of government-backed social programs. Up to this point, the Democrats’ policy debate has largely been defined by Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders, with their promises to restructure huge parts of the American economy. The debate in Ohio represented the most assertive effort so far by candidates skeptical of their policies to put up resistance to those ideas.

The fierce exchange also signaled that the race had entered a new phase, defined by Ms. Warren’s apparent status as a leader of the Democratic pack and a new mood of urgency among other candidates eager to challenge that status.

Mr. Sanders, who has observed a kind of informal nonaggression pact with Ms. Warren so far, did not exactly break from that approach on Tuesday night. But he called it “appropriate” for candidates to explain the fiscal trade-offs involved in a “Medicare for all” system: Mr. Sanders said that voters would see their taxes go up, but that they would save money overall because of the way health care would be restructured.

“Premiums are gone, co-payments are gone, deductibles are gone, all out-of-pocket expenses are gone,” Mr. Sanders said, adding, “The tax increase they pay will be substantially less, substantially less than what they were paying for premiums and out-of-pocket expenses.”

But Mr. Sanders more forcefully scolded the candidates onstage who opposed single-payer care and whom he described as “defending a system which is dysfunctional, which is cruel.”

The Democratic field appeared far more eager to attack Ms. Warren for her health care policies than to critique Mr. Biden who remains a top candidate in the race, for the family business entanglements that have defined a weekslong clash between Mr. Biden and President Trump.

Mr. Biden has tried to put to rest criticism of his son’s financial dealings in Ukraine and China. Over the weekend, he said he would not allow members of his family to do business overseas during a potential Biden presidency, and Hunter Biden stepped down from his role at an investment fund linked to China.

Prompted by a moderator to explain why his family had not observed similar restrictions while he was vice president, Mr. Biden avoided answering directly and repeatedly defended his son. He pointed to an interview Hunter Biden gave to ABC News, in which he described his decision to work in Ukraine as an error of judgment but said he had not done anything wrong ethically.

“I carried out the policy of the United States government in rooting out corruption in Ukraine,” Mr. Biden said, adding, “My son’s statement speaks for itself.”

The other Democrats onstage did not appear eager to press the issue, in part because they believe there is no appetite among primary voters for criticism of Mr. Biden’s family. There is also a feeling among some Democrats that Mr. Biden is on the downswing in the race and that it makes little sense to attack him in ways that might antagonize his supporters. Neither Ms. Warren nor Mr. Sanders, Mr. Biden’s two most formidable rivals, took up the line of attack on Ukraine.

Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, who in previous debates took on Mr. Biden in pointed terms, instead scolded the moderators for even asking Mr. Biden about his son’s work in Ukraine.

“The only person sitting at home enjoying that was Donald Trump,” said Mr. Booker, lamenting what he called ‘‘elevating a lie and attacking a statesman.”

With a dozen candidates onstage and impeachment in the air, it was unclear heading into Tuesday’s debate whether it would prove to be a turning point in the race. With Mr. Trump’s struggle to stabilize his presidency dominating the news, along with a national security and humanitarian crisis unfolding in Syria, the trading of rhetorical blows on a stage in suburban Ohio may or may not captivate the attention of primary voters across the country this week.

Still, the debate promised to test Mr. Biden and Ms. Warren’s competing claims to the status of Democratic front-runner: The two candidates have been closely matched in recent polling, nationally and in the early primary states, with Ms. Warren assembling an increasingly formidable coalition on the left and Mr. Biden remaining the favorite among more moderate Democrats. In recent weeks, the former vice president has been increasingly critical of Ms. Warren’s vows to overhaul the American economy, and he has spoken dismissively about the idea of electing a “planner” to the presidency — an allusion to Ms. Warren’s swollen sheaf of policy proposals.

They entered the debate battling different vulnerabilities. Mr. Biden has been mired in a nearly monthlong battle with Mr. Trump over the work Mr. Biden’s son Hunter did in foreign countries while Mr. Biden was vice president. Mr. Trump’s attacks have veered into personal smears and even potentially impeachable behavior, with entreaties to Ukraine and China to investigate the Bidens, but they have left Mr. Biden off balance at a perilous moment in his candidacy.

Video

Westlake Legal Group opt01_UPDATE_00012-videoSixteenByNineJumbo1600 Warren Comes Under Fire on Funding for Health Care Plan Warren, Elizabeth United States Politics and Government Sanders, Bernard Polls and Public Opinion Ohio Klobuchar, Amy Health Insurance and Managed Care Harris, Kamala D Democratic Party Debates (Political) Buttigieg, Pete (1982- ) Booker, Cory A Biden, Joseph R Jr

Over the years, televised debates have yielded turning points for presidential contenders. We look at some pivotal moments from past debates and explain how they shaped the race.

Even before Mr. Trump’s onslaught, Mr. Biden was struggling to excite the Democratic base. While some in his party are content with what they see as a play-it-safe candidacy, others want him to offer a message beyond nostalgic tributes to the Obama years and vows to restore comity in Washington. As Ms. Warren now threatens to overtake him as the clear leader in the race, Mr. Biden’s allies believe he must both dispense forcefully with the criticism of his family and also articulate more clearly what he would aim to achieve as president.

At the same time, Ms. Warren has been confronting a new level of criticism from her Democratic rivals as she has risen in the polls. And before she can cement a commanding position in the race, Ms. Warren may have to put to rest a few persistent questions about her candidacy — how she would appeal to moderate voters in the general election, for instance, and black voters, and how she would make good on her proposal to create a system of single-payer health insurance.

It is on that last front that her rivals have been most comfortable criticizing her, and it was quick to rise to the forefront Tuesday night, Ms. Warren was pressed on how she would fund a “Medicare for all”-style health insurance system, goading her to say in plain language whether she would raise taxes on the middle class.

Up to this point, Ms. Warren has been careful not to allow any daylight to emerge on the health care issue between her and Mr. Sanders, her most formidable populist rival, who has made “Medicare for all” the defining cause of his campaign. But there may now be more pressure on Ms. Warren to revise her stance in a way that might reassure voters on the center-left than there is on her to protect her left flank from Mr. Sanders, who has been fading in the polls and grappling with the aftermath of a heart attack.

Mr. Sanders has been off the campaign trail for nearly all of October, since he was hospitalized in Las Vegas and had two stents placed in an artery. He has been recovering at his home in Burlington, Vt., and announced plans for a comeback tour starting in New York this weekend. But with his advanced age in the spotlight and his poll numbers slowly declining, Mr. Sanders may face a steep climb to overtake either Mr. Biden or Ms. Warren, with whom he has had something of a nonaggression pact.

At least for a moment, Mr. Sanders showed an unaccustomed willingness to highlight his differences with Ms. Warren last weekend, explaining in a television interview that a crucial distinction between them was that Ms. Warren is a “capitalist through her bones” and he is not.

More eager for conflict might be the candidates in the middle and the back of the Democratic pack — figures like Mr. Buttigieg, Ms. Klobuchar, Mr. Booker, former Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas and Senator Kamala Harris of California. Mr. Buttigieg, whose campaign is stocked with cash but struggling to move up in the polls, has been taking a notably sharper tone with his Democratic opponents. He has chided Ms. Warren for certain aspects of her agenda and more bluntly criticized Mr. O’Rourke for his left-wing proposals to examine the tax-exempt status of religious institutions and to require gun owners to surrender some types of firearms.

Some of Mr. Buttigieg’s rivals have responded in kind, with Mr. O’Rourke branding him as a carefully poll-tested candidate and Ms. Harris suggesting on Twitter that Mr. Buttigieg’s gun policies amounted to little more than a “Band-Aid” on a serious problem.

Lending a fresh layer of unpredictability to the evening were Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, an idiosyncratic lawmaker who is running as a peace candidate, and Tom Steyer, a billionaire former hedge fund investor who has spent lavishly from his personal fortune to buy himself a place on the debate stage. Ms. Gabbard has lashed out in surprising directions in the past, delivering a searing attack on Ms. Harris in a July debate, while Mr. Steyer, appearing in a debate for the first time, has tried to strike a combative pose as a populist critic of Washington.

Several candidates were fighting not only for attention but also for survival, as they strain to meet the stricter qualification standards for the next debate in November. Julián Castro, the former housing secretary, was in that cluster, along with Ms. Klobuchar, Mr. O’Rourke and Ms. Gabbard. Together, they make up an ideologically varied group joined by a common challenge: winning sustained interest from voters in a race dominated by a few exceedingly well-known candidates who have topped the polls for months.

One Democrat not at risk of being sidelined was Andrew Yang, the former technology entrepreneur who has built a powerful niche following with his stern warnings about the automation of work and his proposal to give every American a $12,000-a-year stipend paid from government funds. He raised more money than all but a few candidates in the last quarter, and in the polls he is now even with or leading a number of candidates with far more extensive qualifications for the presidency.

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As Debate Nears, Where Do Democratic Voters Stand on the Issues?

Westlake Legal Group 15debatepolls-facebookJumbo As Debate Nears, Where Do Democratic Voters Stand on the Issues? Presidential Election of 2020 Polls and Public Opinion Democratic Party Debates (Political)

When they tune into Tuesday night’s CNN/New York Times Debate, what will Democratic voters be hoping to see? And what can opinion polls tell us about where the primary electorate stands on the issues?

Recent polls show that Democratic voters are most concerned about health care, gun control, climate change and immigration. Still, in poll after poll, they say decisively that nominating a candidate who can beat President Trump in the general election is more important than finding one whose views align perfectly with their own.

With Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts running neck-and-neck with former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the stakes on Tuesday are higher than at any point in the race thus far. Here’s a glimpse at the issues and ideas that will be on many viewers’ minds as they watch the Democratic debate.

The House’s impeachment inquiry is underway, and Democrats broadly support removing Mr. Trump from office.

Roughly nine in 10 Democratic voters said in a Quinnipiac poll released last week that they had been paying at least some attention to impeachment news, and nearly as many said that if a president asked a foreign leader to investigate a political rival — which Mr. Trump did — that is cause enough to be impeached and removed.

But the president may not be the only politician imperiled by the controversy. At Tuesday’s debate, that political rival, Mr. Biden, will be looking to assuage Democrats’ fears about his family’s role in the Ukraine story. By a margin of 50 percent to 32 percent, Democrats nationwide said in an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll this month that Mr. Biden’s chances of becoming the Democratic nominee were likely to be more hurt than helped by the fact that Mr. Trump had mentioned him in a phone call with the Ukrainian leader — even though Mr. Biden is not believed to have broken the law.

And ultimately, a candidate’s general election appeal is paramount to Democratic voters. By a wide margin — 61 percent to 37 percent — Democrats said in a separate NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll last month that they cared about finding a nominee who was likely to beat Mr. Trump more than they cared about nominating one who personally inspires them.

Join us for live analysis on debate night. Subscribe to “On Politics,” and we’ll send you a link.

Disagreements over health care dominated the first three Democratic debates, and the issue is likely to play a prominent role in Tuesday’s.

The rising costs of health insurance and pharmaceutical drugs continue to worry voters. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll in September found that seven in 10 Americans believed the federal government should make lowering prescription drug prices a top priority. Sixty-four percent also considered lowering the overall cost of health care to be a top priority. Among Democrats, those numbers are even higher.

Yet Democratic candidates disagree on how to achieve these goals. Ms. Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont spent much of the first three debates arguing on behalf of Medicare for All, which would effectively replace private health insurance with a government-run system. Mr. Biden and other more moderate candidates have only endorsed a public option, which would allow Americans to choose between a government plan and private ones.

Last month’s Kaiser poll found that the general public was about evenly split on whether to support Medicare for All, but Democratic voters largely supported the idea. More than three quarters of Democrats nationwide favored creating a national Medicare for All program, with 51 percent favoring it strongly, according to the poll.

But as is often the case, people’s responses depend on how the question is worded. In a Quinnipiac poll last month, when given a choice between keeping the private health care system and building on Obamacare, or replacing private insurance outright with Medicare for All, just 47 percent of Democratic voters chose Medicare for All, compared to 44 percent who preferred a more incremental approach. This suggests that candidates advocating a fully government-run system need to convince more Democratic voters to unite around the idea.

But less consensus exists on what to do with the assault weapons that Americans already own: All the candidates support some kind of program in which the government would buy weapons back from gun owners, but none of the three leading Democrats — Mr. Biden, Ms. Warren or Mr. Sanders — support making that program mandatory. Seven in 10 Democratic voters support mandatory buybacks, according to an August Quinnipiac poll, although less than half of all voters do.

There is a similar lack of consensus among the Democratic candidates on whether to force all gun owners to register their weapons in a national database. Democratic politicians long dismissed the idea of a gun registry as a fear-mongering tactic from the National Rifle Association, but it now enjoys broad support from the public: 62 percent of Americans back the idea, including 85 percent of Democrats.

Most candidates now favor establishing a registry, though some — including Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind. — do not. Others, like Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanders, say it should apply only to owners of assault weapons.

Democratic voters widely believe that climate change represents an international emergency — 84 percent said so in the August Quinnipiac poll — and roughly nine in 10 think the United States is not doing enough to address global warming.

All the major Democratic candidates have expressed support for the Green New Deal, though some have been more guarded than others. All five senators who will debate Tuesday night co-sponsored the bill. Mr. Buttigieg has simply called it “the right beginning,” while Mr. Biden’s campaign website endorses it as a “crucial framework.”

But the Green New Deal enjoys broad support from the American public, with 63 percent of respondents to an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll in July saying they like the idea of investing government money to fund sustainable infrastructure projects and green jobs. Among Democrats, it’s a particularly winning concept; 86 percent of Democrats nationwide back the Green New Deal, the poll found.

Instituting a tax on carbon emissions enjoys less support from the public — just 50 percent of Americans like the idea, according to that poll — but 71 percent of Democrats support it.

Even as Mr. Trump has made cracking down on immigration a central facet of his administration, Americans have generally become more accepting of immigrants. This year for the first time, a majority of Americans (55 percent) said in a Gallup poll that they believed immigration tends to help the United States economy, not hurt it. For Democrats, that’s especially true.

And a recent Pew study found that views of Immigration and Customs Enforcement — the agency most directly associated with the president’s aggressive immigration policies, and which some immigration activists want abolished — have taken a negative turn. Fifty-four percent of all Americans now hold an unfavorable view of ICE, a seven-point jump from last year. And Democrats in particular feel this way: 77 percent of them expressed a negative view of ICE.

By a wide margin, Democrats believe immigration should be either kept at current levels or increased: According to Gallup, 41 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents want to encourage more immigration into the country, compared to just 13 percent who want it discouraged. That marks a 10-point leap since Mr. Trump’s election.

And it’s clear that Democrats worry about the vilification of immigrants — a central facet of Mr. Trump’s public identity. A full 82 percent of Democratic voters said they considered prejudice against immigrants a “very serious” problem in a recent Quinnipiac University poll.

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Impeachment Support Grows, but So Does the Public Divide

Westlake Legal Group 12dc-impeachmentvoters-facebookJumbo Impeachment Support Grows, but So Does the Public Divide Voting and Voters Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Republican Party Polls and Public Opinion impeachment Elections, House of Representatives Democratic Party

CULPEPER, Va. — Over lunch at the Frost Cafe, a corner diner in a picturesque pocket of Virginia that President Trump won handily in 2016, opinion over his impeachment is as varied as anywhere in the country.

Garland Gentry, 74, a pro-Trump retiree, declared the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry “another in a long line of hoaxes,” while Cindy Rafala, 59, a therapist, sat nearby and wondered, “If we don’t impeach, then what are our principles?”

Donnie Johnston, a newspaper columnist who voted for Mr. Trump but has since soured on him, said Democrats are right to look into the president’s effort to pressure the leader of Ukraine to dig up dirt on political rivals. Mr. Trump, he said, makes “a wonderful tyrant but he’s a miserable president.”

The shifting tides in Culpeper, a rural town of about 18,000 nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and in communities across the country, are a warning sign for Mr. Trump as Congress returns to Washington Tuesday after a two-week recess and Democrats’ impeachment inquiry kicks into high gear. They suggest that while Americans are deeply split along party lines over the push to remove Mr. Trump, their views on impeachment are beginning to crystallize in some unexpected ways.

From Iowa to Texas to Virginia to New York — and especially in swing districts like this one, where Representative Abigail Spanberger, a freshman Democrat, flipped a seat long held by Republicans — interviews with dozens of voters suggest what public polls have begun to show: that there is growing support for the impeachment inquiry that could ultimately result in Mr. Trump’s ouster, even as sharp divides remain over his conduct and character.

Democrats, aware of the risks of a backlash by voters against the impeachment process, have been monitoring public opinion vigilantly and tailoring their message and strategy accordingly. On a private conference call on Friday afternoon, leaders briefed their rank and file on private polling of 57 politically competitive districts that confirmed what public polls have reported in recent days: while a stark partisan divide persists, public support is growing for impeaching the president, and for the inquiry itself.

An average of impeachment polls calculated by the website FiveThirtyEight found that, as of Oct. 11, 49.3 percent of respondents supported impeachment and 43.5 percent did not. A survey released this past week by The Washington Post found 58 percent said the House was correct to open an inquiry.

And polling by a group of Democratic strategists found a potential opportunity to sway the public still further: nearly a quarter of the respondents categorized by strategists as “impeachment skeptics” opposed the inquiry but were not ready to say that Mr. Trump did nothing wrong.

Those figures do not point to a broad consensus around impeachment, and the interviews in recent days made clear there is none. Republicans here and around the country view the Democrats’ inquiry as just one more effort to undo the results of the 2016 presidential race. Just 14 percent of them back impeachment, according to FiveThirtyEight, compared to 82 percent of Democrats.

At a weekly steak fry in Trump-friendly Bandera, Texas, a town that bills itself as the “Cowboy Capital of the World,” most people seemed to agree with Holly Mydland, a fiddler, that the inquiry is “just bull crap,” and the local congressman, Representative Chip Roy, a Republican who has said he wants to follow the facts, but insisted that “only in Washington are people all in a tizzy about this.”

But Michael Clark, 69, a retired purchasing agent for an oil company who considers himself an independent, said the inquiry “has merit — we need to know the truth whatever the truth may be.”

And in Westerville, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus that will host a Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Don Foster, who voted for Mr. Trump but no longer supports him, said he found the latest allegations as more dire than those investigated by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, involving Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“This one seems more true than the Mueller report,’’ he said. “I’m guessing that Trump really is guilty, I just don’t know yet.’’

Still, Democrats are confronting some warning signs of their own as they pursue what Speaker Nancy Pelosi has conceded is the most divisive process in American political life. While the Democratic base overwhelmingly supports impeachment, many share the view of Ms. Rafala, the therapist in Culpeper, who said she is “worried to death that it could backfire.”

Holly Mydland said that the inquiry is “just bull crap.”CreditCallaghan O’Hare for The New York Times Michael Clark, who considers himself an independent, said the inquiry “has merit.”CreditCallaghan O’Hare for The New York Times

In West Des Moines, Iowa, Dimeka Jennings said she is far more focused on the 2020 election than on the efforts in Congress to remove Mr. Trump, which she predicts will fail.

“We need to look at beating Trump, and doing so at all costs,” Ms. Jennings said.

And in Reno, Nev., April Friedman, 48, a teacher for students with special needs, said she thought the impeachment inquiry was important but wished the government would also address other more pressing issues.

“I’m in a Title I school and we have cockroaches in our trailer,” she said, referring to the law that mandates extra federal funding for schools with large concentrations of low-income students. “I know there’s a lot going on, but that’s what I’m focused on.”

When lawmakers left Washington for their home districts at the end of September, Ms. Pelosi instructed her fellow Democrats to speak about impeachment in “prayerful, respectful, solemn” tones in an effort to persuade the public that Democrats were acting out of principle, not politics. Two weeks later, it is not clear whether they have succeeded.

“I think the jury’s still out,” said Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster. For Democrats, she said, “the risk is less that voters disagree with them on impeachment and more that people will think: ‘Why are you engaged in this when my prescription drug bill has gone up, my health care is uncertain, my job doesn’t pay very well, my kid’s got student debt?’ ”

Meantime, the impeachment inquiry is barreling ahead as Democrats seek to build their case that Mr. Trump abused his power by using a security aid package and the promise of a White House visit to pressure President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to investigate Democrats including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Mr. Biden’s younger son, Hunter. On Friday, Marie L. Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine, testified behind closed doors, telling impeachment investigators that the president had personally pushed for her ouster based on “false claims.”

During their conference call on Friday, Representative Cheri Bustos of Illinois, who runs the party’s campaign arm, urged fellow Democrats to focus on kitchen-table issues and to speak about impeachment in “direct, simple and values-based” language, according to aides who listened to the call.

The advice reflected the findings of internal polls that the most potent argument for Democrats is that Mr. Trump has abused his power and put himself above the law. It was also an acknowledgment that Republicans are succeeding at persuading some voters that the impeachment push is distracting Democrats from getting things done for their constituents.

“They’ve been hassling the president since the day he got in office,” said Diane Segura, 56, who works as a nurse near the 11th Street Cowboy Bar in Bandera. “I’m tired of hearing it, tired of dealing with it.”

“It’s just more of the same,” she added.

But for many Democratic voters, the impeachment push is long overdue.

“Regardless of what your party is, I don’t understand how you could look at that and think this is not worthy of an investigation,’” said Deborah Harris, a self-described “strong Democrat” in Iowa City, referring to Mr. Trump’s entreaties to President Zelensky. She added, “This is crossing a line.”

But in between there are hints of an important shift among a constituency critical to the president’s future: independents. The FiveThirtyEight tracker shows 44 percent of independents favor impeachment, up from 33 percent after Mr. Mueller concluded his two-year investigation. A memo prepared by Navigator Research, a progressive polling project, entitled “How to Talk About Impeachment,” found even stronger support among independents, with 51 percent backing impeachment.

Culpeper, a town that is older than America itself and sits roughly halfway between Washington, D.C. and Charlottesville, Va., offers a snapshot of America’s impeachment divide.

At the Rusty Willow Boutique, an upscale women’s clothing shop that was preparing for its grand opening, just the mention of Mr. Trump prompted a squabble between Sonya Pancione, 57, the shop’s owner, and Denise Reynolds, 50, one of her best friends from church. Ms. Pancione is dead-set against impeachment.

“Respect the office. It’s a democracy. People voted for him,” she said.

Ms. Reynolds loathes Mr. Trump and blames him for inciting racial hatred. She was once excited about his candidacy — “I thought we needed somebody who understood business in that seat,” she said — but says now that if he were impeached and removed from office, “it would not upset me in the least.”

Denise Reynolds, left, and Sonya Pancione feel differently about the impeachment inquiry.CreditJason Andrew for The New York Times Nick Freitas, a Republican member of the Virginia House of Delegates, helped organize a “Stop the Madness!” rally.CreditJason Andrew for The New York Times

Ms. Spanberger, a former C.I.A. officer and federal postal inspector who worked on money laundering cases before joining Congress, reflects the shifting tide. She won her district, which includes Culpeper, narrowly in 2018, casting herself as a moderate who wanted to solve problems like the high cost of prescription drugs. She visited Culpeper this past week, making it the first stop on a two-day “education tour,” but declined an interview for this article.

For months, she resisted calls for impeachment. But after the Ukraine news broke, she joined six freshman Democrats who have national security backgrounds in writing an opinion piece in The Washington Post to call for Ms. Pelosi to open an inquiry.

Now Mr. Trump and his allies are targeting vulnerable Democrats like her. In Pennsylvania, Florida, Iowa and other battleground states, scores of Republicans turned out this month for “Stop the Madness!” rallies orchestrated by the Trump campaign. Here in Culpeper, the local party staged its own rally last Saturday.

“Abigail won on a blue-wave year, and she really won on this whole notion that she was going to go down and be an independent voice, the she wasn’t interested in impeachment, she was really interested in getting things done,” said Nick Freitas, a Republican member of the Virginia House of Delegates, who helped organize the event.

“And here we are.”

Emily Cochrane contributed reporting from Bandera, Texas; Nick Corasaniti from Iowa City, Trip Gabriel in Westerville, Ohio, and Astead W. Herndon from West Des Moines, Iowa and Reno, Nev.

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As Impeachment Divide Persists, More Voters Embrace an Inquiry

Westlake Legal Group 12dc-impeachmentvoters-facebookJumbo As Impeachment Divide Persists, More Voters Embrace an Inquiry Voting and Voters Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Republican Party Polls and Public Opinion impeachment Elections, House of Representatives Democratic Party

CULPEPER, Va. — Over lunch at the Frost Cafe, a corner diner in a picturesque pocket of Virginia that President Trump won handily in 2016, opinion over his impeachment is as varied as anywhere in the country.

Garland Gentry, 74, a pro-Trump retiree, declared the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry “another in a long line of hoaxes,” while Cindy Rafala, 59, a therapist, sat nearby and wondered, “If we don’t impeach, then what are our principles?”

Donnie Johnston, a newspaper columnist who voted for Mr. Trump but has since soured on him, said Democrats are right to look into the president’s effort to pressure the leader of Ukraine to dig up dirt on political rivals. Mr. Trump, he said, makes “a wonderful tyrant but he’s a miserable president.”

The shifting tides in Culpeper, a rural town of about 18,000 nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and in communities across the country, are a warning sign for Mr. Trump as Congress returns to Washington Tuesday after a two-week recess and Democrats’ impeachment inquiry kicks into high gear. They suggest that while Americans are deeply split along party lines over the push to remove Mr. Trump, their views on impeachment are beginning to crystallize in some unexpected ways.

From Iowa to Texas to Virginia to New York — and especially in swing districts like this one, where Representative Abigail Spanberger, a freshman Democrat, flipped a seat long held by Republicans — interviews with dozens of voters suggest what public polls have begun to show: that there is growing support for the impeachment inquiry that could ultimately result in Mr. Trump’s ouster, even as sharp divides remain over his conduct and character.

Democrats, aware of the risks of a backlash by voters against the impeachment process, have been monitoring public opinion vigilantly and tailoring their message and strategy accordingly. On a private conference call on Friday afternoon, leaders briefed their rank and file on private polling of 57 politically competitive districts that confirmed what public polls have reported in recent days: while a stark partisan divide persists, public support is growing for impeaching the president, and for the inquiry itself.

An average of impeachment polls calculated by the website FiveThirtyEight found that, as of Oct. 11, 49.3 percent of respondents supported impeachment and 43.5 percent did not. A survey released this past week by The Washington Post found 58 percent said the House was correct to open an inquiry.

And polling by a group of Democratic strategists found a potential opportunity to sway the public still further: nearly a quarter of the respondents categorized by strategists as “impeachment skeptics” opposed the inquiry but were not ready to say that Mr. Trump did nothing wrong.

Those figures do not point to a broad consensus around impeachment, and the interviews in recent days made clear there is none. Republicans here and around the country view the Democrats’ inquiry as just one more effort to undo the results of the 2016 presidential race. Just 14 percent of them back impeachment, according to FiveThirtyEight, compared to 82 percent of Democrats.

At a weekly steak fry in Trump-friendly Bandera, Texas, a town that bills itself as the “Cowboy Capital of the World,” most people seemed to agree with Holly Mydland, a fiddler, that the inquiry is “just bull crap,” and the local congressman, Representative Chip Roy, a Republican who has said he wants to follow the facts, but insisted that “only in Washington are people all in a tizzy about this.”

But Michael Clark, 69, a retired purchasing agent for an oil company who considers himself an independent, said the inquiry “has merit — we need to know the truth whatever the truth may be.”

And in Westerville, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus that will host a Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Don Foster, who voted for Mr. Trump but no long supports him, said he found the latest allegations as more dire than those investigated by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, involving Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“This one seems more true than the Mueller report,’’ he said. “I’m guessing that Trump really is guilty, I just don’t know yet.’’

Still, Democrats are confronting some warning signs of their own as they pursue what Speaker Nancy Pelosi has conceded is the most divisive process in American political life. While the Democratic base overwhelmingly supports impeachment, many share the view of Ms. Rafala, the therapist in Culpeper, who said she is “worried to death that it could backfire.”

Holly Mydland said that the inquiry is “just bull crap.”CreditCallaghan O’Hare for The New York Times Michael Clark, who considers himself an independent, said the inquiry “has merit.”CreditCallaghan O’Hare for The New York Times

In West Des Moines, Iowa, Dimeka Jennings said she is far more focused on the 2020 election than on the efforts in Congress to remove Mr. Trump, which she predicts will fail.

“We need to look at beating Trump, and doing so at all costs,” Ms. Jennings said.

And in Reno, Nev., April Friedman, 48, a teacher for students with special needs, said she thought the impeachment inquiry was important but wished the government would also address other more pressing issues.

“I’m in a Title I school and we have cockroaches in our trailer,” she said, referring to the law that mandates extra federal funding for schools with large concentrations of low-income students. “I know there’s a lot going on, but that’s what I’m focused on.”

When lawmakers left Washington for their home districts at the end of September, Ms. Pelosi instructed her fellow Democrats to speak about impeachment in “prayerful, respectful, solemn” tones in an effort to persuade the public that Democrats were acting out of principle, not politics. Two weeks later, it is not clear whether they have succeeded.

“I think the jury’s still out,” said Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster. For Democrats, she said, “the risk is less that voters disagree with them on impeachment and more that people will think: ‘Why are you engaged in this when my prescription drug bill has gone up, my health care is uncertain, my job doesn’t pay very well, my kid’s got student debt?’ ”

Meantime, the impeachment inquiry is barreling ahead as Democrats seek to build their case that Mr. Trump abused his power by using a security aid package and the promise of a White House visit to pressure President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to investigate Democrats including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Mr. Biden’s younger son, Hunter. On Friday, Marie L. Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine, testified behind closed doors, telling impeachment investigators that the president had personally pushed for her ouster based on “false claims.”

During their conference call on Friday, Representative Cheri Bustos of Illinois, who runs the party’s campaign arm, urged fellow Democrats to focus on kitchen-table issues and to speak about impeachment in “direct, simple and values-based” language, according to aides who listened to the call.

The advice reflected the findings of internal polls that the most potent argument for Democrats is that Mr. Trump has abused his power and put himself above the law. It was also an acknowledgment that Republicans are succeeding at persuading some voters that the impeachment push is distracting Democrats from getting things done for their constituents.

“They’ve been hassling the president since the day he got in office,” said Diane Segura, 56, who works as a nurse near the 11th Street Cowboy Bar in Bandera. “I’m tired of hearing it, tired of dealing with it.”

“It’s just more of the same,” she added.

But for many Democratic voters, the impeachment push is long overdue.

“Regardless of what your party is, I don’t understand how you could look at that and think this is not worthy of an investigation,’” said Deborah Harris, a self-described “strong Democrat” in Iowa City, referring to Mr. Trump’s entreaties to President Zelensky. She added, “This is crossing a line.”

But in between there are hints of an important shift among a constituency critical to the president’s future: independents. The FiveThirtyEight tracker shows 44 percent of independents favor impeachment, up from 33 percent after Mr. Mueller concluded his two-year investigation. A memo prepared by Navigator Research, a progressive polling project, entitled “How to Talk About Impeachment,” found even stronger support among independents, with 51 percent backing impeachment.

Culpeper, a town that is older than America itself and sits roughly halfway between Washington, D.C. and Charlottesville, Va., offers a snapshot of America’s impeachment divide.

At the Rusty Willow Boutique, an upscale women’s clothing shop that was preparing for its grand opening, just the mention of Mr. Trump prompted a squabble between Sonya Pancione, 57, the shop’s owner, and Denise Reynolds, 50, one of her best friends from church. Ms. Pancione is dead-set against impeachment.

“Respect the office. It’s a democracy. People voted for him,” she said.

Ms. Reynolds loathes Mr. Trump and blames him for inciting racial hatred. She was once excited about his candidacy — “I thought we needed somebody who understood business in that seat,” she said — but says now that if he were impeached and removed from office, “it would not upset me in the least.”

Denise Reynolds, left, and Sonya Pancione feel differently about the impeachment inquiry.CreditJason Andrew for The New York Times Nick Freitas, a Republican member of the Virginia House of Delegates, helped organize a “Stop the Madness!” rally.CreditJason Andrew for The New York Times

Ms. Spanberger, a former C.I.A. officer and federal postal inspector who worked on money laundering cases before joining Congress, reflects the shifting tide. She won her district, which includes Culpeper, narrowly in 2018, casting herself as a moderate who wanted to solve problems like the high cost of prescription drugs. She visited Culpeper this past week, making it the first stop on a two-day “education tour,” but declined an interview for this article.

For months, she resisted calls for impeachment. But after the Ukraine news broke, she joined six freshman Democrats who have national security backgrounds in writing an opinion piece in The Washington Post to call for Ms. Pelosi to open an inquiry.

Now Mr. Trump and his allies are targeting vulnerable Democrats like her. In Pennsylvania, Florida, Iowa and other battleground states, scores of Republicans turned out this month for “Stop the Madness!” rallies orchestrated by the Trump campaign. Here in Culpeper, the local party staged its own rally last Saturday.

“Abigail won on a blue-wave year, and she really won on this whole notion that she was going to go down and be an independent voice, the she wasn’t interested in impeachment, she was really interested in getting things done,” said Nick Freitas, a Republican member of the Virginia House of Delegates, who helped organize the event.

“And here we are.”

Emily Cochrane contributed reporting from Bandera, Texas; Nick Corasaniti from Iowa City, Trip Gabriel in Westerville, Ohio, and Astead W. Herndon from West Des Moines, Iowa and Reno, Nev.

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Biden Faced His Biggest Challenge, and Struggled to Form a Response

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WASHINGTON — Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s presidential campaign was under attack, and he and his advisers were torn over what to do.

For more than a week, President Trump had been hurling unfounded accusations about Mr. Biden, his son Hunter and their dealings in Ukraine. Mr. Biden and his advisers debated whether to mount a fierce counterattack or to stick to a set of policy arguments he had been planning to roll out. Bad news loomed in the background: Mr. Biden’s poll numbers had already grown wobbly, his fund-raising was uneven, and cable news was flashing chyrons by the hour showing Mr. Trump’s wild claims.

Mr. Biden himself was equivocating: He wanted to defend and protect his son, but he also believed the president was baiting him into a dirty fight. And as a lifelong adherent to congressional tradition, Mr. Biden was wary of acting hastily as an impeachment inquiry was getting underway.

The strain grew so acute that some of Mr. Biden’s advisers lashed out at their own party, taking the unusual step of urging campaign surrogates to criticize the Democratic National Committee — a neutral body in the primary — for not doing more to defend Mr. Biden, while the Republican National Committee was running TV ads attacking him. Frustrated, D.N.C. officials informed the Biden camp that it would continue denouncing Mr. Trump but would not run ads for Mr. Biden or any other candidate.

The Biden campaign’s tense deliberations reached a climax last weekend when Mr. Biden agreed to give a scorching rebuttal to Mr. Trump in a speech on Wednesday in Reno, Nev. But he delivered it well into the evening on the East Coast, and it was mostly lost amid another long day of Trumpian eruptions.

To some Biden allies, it seemed too little too late: a case study in political indecision. Now Mr. Biden looks more vulnerable than at any point since he entered the campaign. Facing one of the greatest challenges of his candidacy, Mr. Biden has plainly struggled to meet the moment, or fully reconcile his own cautious instincts with his protectiveness of his family’s privacy and his preference for taking the moral high road against Mr. Trump.

Interviews with more than 50 Democratic strategists, lawmakers and lobbyists provide a portrait of a candidacy facing challenges on all sides, and one at risk of losing its core argument that Mr. Biden is the Democrat best able to defeat Mr. Trump in a general election.

There is no evidence behind Mr. Trump’s claim that Mr. Biden intervened inappropriately with Ukraine to help his son, but Democrats have been unnerved by the president’s onslaught and Mr. Biden’s halting response.

In addition to the attacks from Mr. Trump, Mr. Biden’s top rivals, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, each out-raised him in the third quarter by about $10 million. And as Ms. Warren has emerged as Mr. Biden’s most formidable competition, Mr. Sanders, her main challenger for progressive support, just had a heart attack, casting uncertainty over whether he could siphon votes from Ms. Warren, as the Biden camp had hoped.

Even before last week, Mr. Biden’s advisers were acknowledging to donors that he may well lose both of the leadoff nominating contests in Iowa and New Hampshire.

His communications aides contend that most voters were more focused on what Mr. Trump did to prompt the impeachment inquiry than on the false claims themselves. And they pointed to the former vice president’s forceful attacks on Mr. Trump at a news conference Friday to argue that he was now ready to do battle with the president.

“This guy like all bullies is a coward,” Mr. Biden said. “He does not want to run against me.”

On Thursday, Mr. Biden, whose inner monologue rarely remains repressed, gave voice to the tension he is struggling with as he spoke at a fund-raiser in Palo Alto, Calif.

Recalling the difficulty Hillary Clinton had in confronting Mr. Trump’s campaign style, Mr. Biden worried about being “sucked into the trap of the stuff that Trump was laying. He wants you in a mud fight.”

“But when you respond to that,” he continued, “it brings you back down into that.”

Mr. Biden was even blunter, and angrier, in private after news first emerged that Mr. Trump had exhorted the Ukrainian government to investigate him and his son.

“I can’t believe this guy is going after my family like this,” he told Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, as the two campaigned in Iowa, Mr. Coons recalled.

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Leading Democrats have been pleading privately with Mr. Biden and his top aides to aggressively confront Mr. Trump, and expressing impatience with them for not seizing this opportunity to engage him in a two-man race. After all, Mr. Biden had spent months framing his candidacy as a singular crusade to oust an aberrant president.

“It’s time to really respond so everybody hears it,” said Representative Cedric Richmond of Louisiana, a campaign co-chairman. “If someone says something enough, people will start to believe it, and this president gets in his zone of telling a lie over and over again. You have to make sure people don’t believe in it.”

David Plouffe, former President Barack Obama’s campaign manager, was mystified. Mr. Biden “should use this moment and become Trump’s opponent,” Mr. Plouffe said. “I don’t understand it.”

But Mr. Biden is confronting an almost unimaginable situation: the president he hopes to challenge is facing impeachment for urging another country to help smear him. What’s more, the House inquiry centers on what Mr. Biden values most in his private and public life: protecting his family and honoring institutional norms.

Several Democrats close to Mr. Biden say he did not take on Mr. Trump sooner in large part because of his reverence for congressional prerogatives — he did not want to immediately insert himself into the House’s jurisdiction. But Mr. Biden also sought to address the attacks on his son on his own terms rather than sit for hastily arranged television interviews that would have forced him to answer questions about Hunter Biden’s work that few of his own aides dared pose.

Now, just as his monthslong lead in the primary is eroding, he faces an opponent who’s threatening his son, the political system he dedicated his adult life to and, as he approaches his 77th birthday, his last chance to become president.

For Mr. Biden’s campaign, no attack could have been more difficult to deal with than one involving the candidate’s son.

Mr. Biden nearly did not run for president because of the effect it would have on his family — and particularly on Hunter Biden and his children, according to multiple advisers to the former vice president. Hunter Biden has struggled for years with substance addiction and had recently gone through a very public divorce from his first wife.

In separate interviews, Mr. Coons and his fellow senator from Delaware, Tom Carper, both said they had warned Mr. Biden that the president would target his family.

“He expected his family to be attacked,” Mr. Carper said, adding that Mr. Biden assured him he was braced for “the onslaught.’’

Mr. Biden’s family, including his son, encouraged him to enter the race, knowing the attacks were inevitable. But as Anita Dunn, one of Mr. Biden’s closest advisers, put it: “When it happens, it still feels pretty lousy.”

The Biden campaign has attempted to handle the candidate’s son with great sensitivity. Mr. Biden made clear at the outset that Hunter, a lawyer who had long advised his father on his campaigns, should not be made to feel excluded, people who spoke with him said. One adviser to Mr. Biden recently telephoned his son to solicit advice on the upcoming debate in Ohio.

But to most of Mr. Biden’s aides, Hunter Biden has been a spectral presence. He is living in Los Angeles and stayed away from Mr. Biden’s campaign launch in Philadelphia. Hunter Biden quietly attended the last two debates and appeared with his new wife, Melissa Cohen, at a July fund-raiser in Pasadena, Calif.

Still, Mr. Biden’s advisers are aware that Hunter Biden carries political vulnerabilities. His business career has intersected repeatedly with his father’s political power, through roles he had held in banking, lobbying and international finance. Working for a Ukrainian energy company beginning in 2014, he was paid as much as $50,000 a month while his father was vice president, and some of Mr. Biden’s admirers worry that, while Mr. Trump’s accusations are without merit, voters may view Hunter Biden’s actions as problematic.

In the past, Mr. Biden has bristled at questions about whether his family had benefited financially from his political career. He did so again on Friday when he was asked whether his son’s work in Ukraine represented a conflict of interest. Pointing a finger at the questioner he said: “Let’s focus on the problem. Focus on this man, what he’s doing, that no president has ever done. No president!” The Trump campaign was soon circulating a clip of the episode.

For his allies, it is both poignant and painful that Mr. Biden’s family is again at the heart of his public identity. He lost his first wife and daughter, and nearly lost his two sons, in a car accident in the weeks after he was elected to the Senate in 1972. His final years as vice president, as well as his hopes to run for president in 2016, were overwhelmed by his elder son Beau’s death from brain cancer.

Jim Mowrer, a former Democratic congressional candidate from Iowa who served with Beau Biden in the military, said he spoke to Hunter Biden early this year and got the impression he was trying to focus on personal matters rather than the campaign. Mr. Mowrer said he saw the elder Mr. Biden in Iowa last month and they discussed not Hunter but his other son, Beau.

“Beau’s death is very, very fresh in his mind, and so now these attacks on Hunter are even more unsettling,” Mr. Mowrer said.

The politics of Ukraine and impeachment have been so costly for Mr. Biden, in part, because he is confronting so many other challenges in the Democratic race: a struggle to excite liberal primary voters, an ascendant rival in Ms. Warren and a decline in fund-raising that has forced him to spend even more time appealing to donors in cities hundreds of miles from the early primary states.

Mr. Biden’s campaign manager, Greg Schultz, acknowledged some of those problems in a briefing for Democratic donors at Morgan Stanley’s New York office last month. Mr. Schultz assured the group that they had a path to the nomination that depended on winning South Carolina — the fourth primary state — and then scoring big victories in the Super Tuesday primaries in March.

In South Carolina, where Mr. Biden’s support appears strongest among the early-voting states, some of his supporters are discussing a trip to Iowa before Thanksgiving — to vouch for the former vice president, and to emphasize his ability to appeal to minority constituencies, like African-Americans.

“We probably know Joe Biden a lot better than they do,” said State Senator Dick Harpootlian of South Carolina, a Biden supporter.

Mr. Schultz acknowledged at the briefing that Mr. Biden had been uneven at times during debates and on the stump. Still, he predicted Mr. Biden would maintain an advantage over Ms. Warren, saying she would struggle to overcome the persistent competition on the left from Mr. Sanders.

But Ms. Warren has recently pulled well ahead of Mr. Sanders. Now, even Mr. Biden’s own campaign aides privately acknowledge that South Carolina may not be much of a political firewall if Ms. Warren rolls through Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.

As he finds his way forward, Mr. Biden is relying on a circle of advisers, some formal and others less so, but there is no chief strategist. Mike Donilon, who wrote much of the Reno speech, may be the closest person to playing that role. Democrats who know Mr. Biden well say the campaign is mostly in his hands — and he makes the final calls.

While Mr. Biden’s team has done little polling in the race, he is expected to conduct a survey of Iowa Democrats next week on the Ukraine issue ahead of a new advertising push in the state.

Mr. Biden has begun to escalate his attacks on the president, and his campaign began airing a commercial hitting back at the president for trying to “pick his opponent and face only the candidates he thinks he can beat.” Still, there is no final consensus, in Mr. Biden’s camp, about how consistently he should confront Mr. Trump.

“He’s never gone negative,” said William M. Daley, the former White House chief of staff, who worked on Mr. Biden’s 1988 campaign. “That’s not him, that’s the charm of Joe.”

Thomas Kaplan contributed reporting from Los Angeles.

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Trade Conflicts Weigh on Confidence, Posing a Risk to Trump

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Economists and business leaders have been warning for months that President Trump’s trade war could damage the economy. The American public increasingly shares those concerns.

Consumers have been a bulwark of support for the economy, remaining confident even as hiring has slowed, the manufacturing sector has slumped and financial markets have grown volatile. But cracks are beginning to show. Several major measures of consumer sentiment have dipped in recent weeks, with many consumers citing tariffs as a reason for their pessimism.

Fifty-eight percent of Americans say the conflict with China will be bad for the United States, according to a survey this month for The New York Times by the online research platform SurveyMonkey. That’s up from 53 percent in June, the last time that question was asked. An even larger share of respondents, 63 percent, think Mr. Trump’s trade policies will be bad for the economy, at least in the short term, also up from an earlier survey.

There are signs the White House is taking notice. The administration is racing to secure limited trade deals with Japan and India before the end of the month that would open their markets to American farmers. And last week, the Trump administration said it would delay a round of tariff increases on China scheduled for next month. Mr. Trump described the decision as a “gesture of good will,” but some analysts saw a political motivation: Farmers, a key constituency for Mr. Trump, have grown increasingly frustrated with the administration’s trade policies.

Stories of struggling farmers are proving influential even with voters outside farm country.

“The trade war with China, I feel like, is just destroying farmers and agriculture industry,” said Ashley Connor, who sells beauty products from her home in Nashville.

Ms. Connor, a 39-year-old mother of two, is about to start a job with UPS. She is also considering working part time at an Amazon warehouse. But while plenty of jobs are available, few pay a living wage, at least for people like her who lack a college degree, she said. The trade fight, she added, is emblematic of Mr. Trump’s overall approach to the economy.

“He’s taking care of all his rich friends, and he’s kind of gutting every program for lower- and middle-class families,” she said. “I just don’t feel like the economy is set up for people like me.”

Consumer sentiment has proved resilient. One closely watched measure, from the University of Michigan, rebounded in September after falling sharply in August, although it is still down over the past year. Actual spending has stayed strong.

“There’s not one big crisis, just a general sense of unease,” said Laura Wronski, a research scientist for SurveyMonkey. “We have all these same underlying conditions of political uncertainty and uncertainty about the likelihood of a recession, but people are still, over all, optimistic about where things are.”

Aditya Bhave, an economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said tariffs had done relatively little to dent consumer confidence so far. But he said that could change if the Trump administration followed through on threats to raise tariffs on consumer goods, and if the uncertainty around trade caused an economic slowdown or layoffs.

Those risks could be rising. In a report on Thursday, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development downgraded its economic outlook for the United States and the world as a whole, saying that “escalating trade policy tensions are taking an increasing toll on confidence and investment.” The Paris-based research and policy agency now expects United States economic output to grow 2.4 percent this year and 2 percent next year, more modest gains than estimated previously.

The administration has continued to defend its policies, arguing that Mr. Trump’s trade war will ultimately deliver benefits for the global economy by reforming China’s trading practices, and that naysayers are exaggerating the negative trends.

Speaking at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, Larry Kudlow, the director of Mr. Trump’s National Economic Council, pointed to recent data showing that industrial production rebounded in August, and argued that the American economy had the potential to grow at 3 percent “or better.”

“The outlook for growth is good,” he said. “There’s certainly no recession.”

But business leaders who are bearing the costs of the trade war have been blunt.

On Wednesday, the Business Roundtable, an organization of corporate chief executives, said its members’ economic outlook had fallen sharply in the third quarter. More than half of the executives in the group’s survey reported that tariffs had caused a somewhat or very negative impact on their sales. Companies said they expected to hire fewer people and invest less in coming months.

“American businesses now have their foot poised above the brake, and they’re tapping the brake periodically,” Joshua Bolten, the organization’s president, said in a statement. “Uncertainty is preventing the full potential of the economy from being unleashed, limiting growth and investment here in the U.S.”

The trade war is particularly unpopular among people like Ms. Connor who disapprove of Mr. Trump’s broader performance in office. But the Times survey found concern even among those more sympathetic to the president. Two-thirds of independents say the fight with China will be bad for the United States, and support has also softened somewhat among Republicans. (Among those who strongly approve of Mr. Trump, however, only 11 percent say the conflict will be bad for the country.)

Travis Wolff, a recruiter for a trucking company in Lubbock, Tex., describes himself as a moderate who tends toward conservatism on economic issues. He didn’t vote for either major-party candidate in the last presidential election. While Mr. Trump has exceeded his expectations in office, Mr. Wolff said, he doesn’t like the president’s approach to trade.

“I don’t think tariffs are necessarily beneficial to either country,” he said. “It’s not like government is paying for that. We’re paying for that. We’re bearing the brunt of it.”

Mr. Wolff, 37, said the economy was doing well in his area now, thanks to the West Texas oil boom, but said he didn’t feel that Mr. Trump deserved much credit for that — and he thinks a recession is likely next year. He said he would consider voting for a Democrat in 2020, particularly if the nominee was one of the more moderate candidates, like former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

But Democratic presidential candidates have struggled to articulate to voters exactly what they would do differently from Mr. Trump on trade. While Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas have released detailed trade agendas, most of the other candidates have been vague on their plans, besides general criticism of Mr. Trump and a vow to work more closely with allies. In a debate last week, several candidates said they would not roll back Mr. Trump’s China tariffs immediately.

Bruce Friedman, a 67-year-old registered nurse in the Hudson Valley of New York, said tariffs were hurting farmers and consumers and were threatening the broader economy. He said Democrats should spend less time criticizing Mr. Trump and more time laying out their own plans.

“If they talked about trade and things like that, they might get ahead,” Mr. Friedman said. “That’s what they need to talk about, is how they’re going to help the working people, the middle class.”

But another survey respondent, Gustave Miracle, illustrated the delicate position facing Democrats. Mr. Miracle, a Catholic priest outside Boston, said he deeply opposed Mr. Trump’s immigration policies but appreciated his trade policies, which he saw as an effort to stand up for American workers.

“I appreciated the fact that there was a lot of talk about the blue collar in America,” he said of Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Mr. Miracle, 45, said he doubted that Mr. Trump’s policies would bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States. But he said they were worth trying.

“It’s moral to have that fight, to stand for the American laborer, for the American average citizen,” he said.

About the survey: The data in this article came from an online survey of 2,740 adults conducted by the polling firm SurveyMonkey from Sept. 2 to Sept. 8. The company selected respondents at random from the nearly three million people who take surveys on its platform each day. Responses were weighted to match the demographic profile of the population of the United States. The survey has a modeled error estimate (similar to a margin of error in a standard telephone poll) of plus or minus three percentage points, so differences of less than that amount are statistically insignificant.

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