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One-In-Three Say Political Agenda Driving Russia Probe

Thursday, December 07, 2017

As special counsel Robert Mueller continues his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, one-in-three voters believe the probe is fueled by a political agenda.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 33% of Likely U.S. Voters think Mueller and his team have a political agenda, while 49% think they are attempting to investigate the collusion allegations in an impartial fashion. Nineteen percent (19%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

A closer look at the numbers shows that most Democrats (63%) believe the Mueller investigation is legitimate. Republicans and voters not affiliated with either major political party aren’t as convinced, with a sizable 42% and 36%, respectively, believing Mueller and his team have a political agenda. Twenty percent (20%) of Democrats agree.

Still, just 35% of GOP voters and 46% of unaffiliateds believe Mueller and his team are conducting an impartial investigation.  But one-in-four (23%) Republicans are undecided as to Mueller’s intentions, as are 17% of Democrats and 18% of unaffiliateds.

In October, just after President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was indicted, 52% said Mueller’s investigation is an honest attempt to determine criminal wrongdoing, while 32% saw it more as a partisan witch hunt.

After President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in May, 45% believed the questions being raised about Trump’s firing of Comey were due mostly to concern that the law may have been broken. But nearly as many (43%) said those questions are mostly due to partisan politics.

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The national survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on December 4-5, 2017 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Forty-six percent (46%) of voters have at least a Somewhat Favorable impression of Mueller, including 28% who have a Very Favorable one. Thirty-four percent (34%) view the former FBI director appointed by President George W. Bush unfavorably, with 18% who have a Very Unfavorable opinion of him. These findings have changed little since October.

Eighty-five percent (85%) of voters say they are following news reports about the special prosecutor investigating allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government last year closely, including 51% who are following these reports Very Closely. Just 14% are not following these stories closely.

Among voters who Strongly Approve of the job President Trump is doing, 67% think Mueller and his team have a political agenda. Seventy-four percent (74%) of voters who Strongly Disapprove of Trump’s job performance feel they are investigating in an impartial fashion.

Most (92%) voters who have a Very Favorable impression of Mueller think the investigation is impartial. Seventy-eight percent (78%) of voters who have a Very Unfavorable opinion of Mueller think he and his team have a political agenda.

Fifty-nine percent (59%) of Democrats have a favorable impression of Mueller, a view shared by 40% of Republicans and 41% of voters not affiliated with either political party.

Half of all voters (50%) consider it unlikely that Mueller’s investigation will lead to criminal charges against Trump. Thirty-nine percent (39%) disagree and say it’s likely.

After Comey’s firing, 59% believed the firing was meant to pressure the FBI not to investigate any ties between Trump associates and the Russian government.  Fifty-two percent (52%) said the Russia probe prompted the firing of Comey.  

Out of a handful of problems facing the United States, 26% of voters rate the Trump administration’s alleged ties to Russia as the most important, ahead of the economy (18%), Obamacare (16%) and taxes and spending (15%).

Fifty-two percent (52%) think Bill and Hillary Clinton’s private dealings with Russian officials should be included in the FBI investigation of the Trump campaign.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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