Nearly half of all Americans still believe President Donald Trump worked with Russia to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted after Special Counsel Robert Mueller cleared Trump of that allegation.
Americans did feel slightly more positive about Trump after learning the findings of the 22-month investigation into Russian meddling in the election, the national opinion poll released on Tuesday showed.
But US Attorney General William Barr’s four-page summary of Mueller’s investigation did little to change public opinion about the president’s alleged ties to Russia or quench the public’s appetite to learn more.
According to Barr’s summary released on Sunday, Mueller found no evidence that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia in the 2016 election, but did not exonerate the president on the question of obstructing the investigation.
When asked specifically about accusations of collusion and obstruction of justice, 48 per cent of poll respondents said they believed “Trump or someone from his campaign worked with Russia to influence the 2016 election,” down 6 percentage points from last week.
Fifty-three per cent said “Trump tried to stop investigations into Russian influence on his administration,” down 2 points from last week.
Public opinion was split sharply along party lines, with Democrats much more likely than Republicans to believe that Trump colluded with Russia and obstructed justice.
The Reuters/Ipsos poll measured the public reaction in the United States on Monday and Tuesday, after the report summary was released, gathering online responses from 1,003 adults, including 948 who said they had at least heard of the summary findings.
The poll has a credibility interval, a measure of its precision, of about 4 percentage points.
Trump’s approval rating got a slight boost, with 43 per cent of Americans saying they approved of his performance in office, the highest he has polled so far this year and an increase of 4 percentage points compared to a similar poll last week.
Since January, the proportion of adults who approved of Trump has ranged between 37 per cent and 43 per cent.
Trump heralded the summary of the Mueller report as a “complete and total exoneration” and vowed to strike back with investigations of his own against unnamed political enemies who he believes are guilty of “evil” and “treasonous things.”
Democrats have called on Barr to release the full report, a position shared by a majority of poll respondents.
Among those familiar with Barr’s summary, only 9 per cent said it had changed their thinking about Trump’s ties to Russia and 57 per cent said they want to see the entire report.
Thirty-eight percent of all adults, including two out of three Democrats, support efforts by Democratic leaders to continue the Russia investigation in Congress, according to the poll.
The poll also found that 39 per cent felt that Trump “should be impeached,” while 49 per cent felt that he should not.