Democratic and independent voters in southeast Pennsylvania who say they voted for President Joe Biden in 2020 and who could be important to his reelection hopes weighed in on the president and his son, Hunter Biden, after the younger Biden's indictment on a felony gun charge last week for allegedly lying on a gun purchase form about drug use. Two days earlier, House Republicans had announced they were opening an impeachment inquiry into the president over allegations that he profited off his son Hunter Biden's foreign business dealings.
CBS News spoke to about 30 Pennsylvanians, and every one of them said they were aware of the legal troubles surrounding the president's son. Many said they were cognizant of the younger Biden's struggles with drug addiction. And they tended to see the the president's loyalty to his son as a positive attribute.
"I think it's unfortunate that [Hunter Biden] tried to buy a gun and lied about it," Kurt Haltiwanger told CBS News, but he added, "I think it's to President Biden's credit that he stands by his son."
In a new CBS News poll, a majority — 53% of registered voters nationwide — said congressional Republicans should not try to impeach Mr. Biden over matters concerning his son, compared to 47% of registered voters who support an impeachment. Mr. Biden prevailed over Trump in 2020 in Pennsylvania by around 80,000 votes, a margin of 1.2%.
The investigations mounted by House Republicans into Hunter Biden's conduct have yet to uncover direct evidence of wrongdoing by the president. Mr. Biden has denied any involvement in his son's foreign work, and the White House has said the president is not involved in Hunter Biden's business activities.
Dawn Douglass Marion said she was "undecided" on voting for Mr. Biden again because she has concerns about the president's handling of the economy, and she thinks Hunter Biden's legal troubles are "diminishing" the president's image.
But Marion also said she relates to the president's support of his son. "That's just a parent thing. I have a child myself, and I would do the same thing," she said.
Some of the Pennsylvania voters expressed doubt about the House Republican's impeachment inquiry.
"[Republicans have] been looking for years and years and have found a handful of very minor, very rarely prosecuted issues and it certainly doesn't have to do anything with his father," Dan Schatz said, "It's obvious that he has been very careful to stay out of his son's troubles."
One concern for voters nationwide, younger and older alike, appears at this point to be the president's age, according to CBS News' poll this past weekend, which found that only just over a third of registered voters think the 80-year-old Biden would be likely to finish a second term if he's reelected, though 55% think Republican frontrunner and former President Donald Trump would be likely to complete a second term.
In Pennsylvania, one voter who supports Mr. Biden, Ari Tuckman, thinks he should be out on the campaign trail more. "I think he needs to be in front of voters to show that he is not this sort of doddering old man that the Republicans are trying to make him out to be," Tuckman said.
Another Biden voter said that for her, Mr. Biden's mental fitness isn't a question. "Age doesn't really have anything to do with it. Both Biden and Trump are senior citizens so that really has nothing to do with it," Elizabeth Barone said. "I do worry about his health. That would be my only concern, his health."
The CBS News poll found that at this point, in a head-to-head rematch, among likely voters, Trump has a 1-point edge — within the margin of error — over Mr. Biden, who beat Trump by seven million votes three years ago.