Over 82 percent of voters said it was very or somewhat important that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigative report on Russian influence and the 2016 presidential election be released to the public, according to a new Suffolk University/USA TODAY national poll.
The U.S. House last week voted 420-0 for a resolution calling for the report to be made available to the public and Congress. Four members of Congress voted present.
Nearly 62 percent indicated that the public release was a very important matter, while over 20 percent said it was somewhat important. Fourteen percent said that it was not particularly or not at all important, while 3 percent were undecided.
“Finally, the voting public and Congress agree on something,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “With the investigation in its third year, people want to know what the investigation uncovered and whether President Trump colluded with the Russians or directed others to collude with the Russians.”
Trust in Mueller probe
The poll shows a shift in the level of confidence in Mueller’s investigation. Overall, more voters (55 percent) have some trust in the fairness and accuracy of the special counsel’s effort than do not, but there has been a decline in the percentage of voters with “a lot of trust,” from 37 percent in the Suffolk University/USA Today October 2018 poll, to 33 percent in December 2018 and 28 percent today. On the flip side, the proportion of voters who say they have little or no trust in Mueller’s investigation, has been up and down, from 32 percent in October to 38 percent in December and 36 percent today.
While a majority (52 percent) said they had little or no trust in Trump’s denial of collusion, that figure is down from 59 percent in December, while the percentage of those with a lot or some trust in his denial has risen from 35 percent in December to 43 percent today.
Opinions of the Mueller investigation aside, fewer than 3 in 10 (28 percent) think the House of Representatives should seriously consider impeaching President Trump, down from 39 percent in October, while nearly 62 percent oppose impeachment, up from 54 percent in October 2018. The October poll fielded following the indictments of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and former Trump attorney Michael Cohen.
This poll came on the heels of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s saying that she personally opposes impeachment and said Trump is “not worth the effort.” However, 58 percent of those polled said that Pelosi’s point of view has no impact on their own opinions.
2020 presidential prospects
In a large field of declared and potential Democratic candidates for president in 2020, former Vice President Joe Biden is the one who most excites Democrats and independent voters’ imaginations (59 percent are excited about his potential candidacy), according to the poll. The survey presented the potential candidates’ names, not as a horse race, but rather asked about a range of feelings for each candidate.
Vt. Sen. Bernie Sanders had the second highest level of excitement (42 percent), but the would-be 2016 nominee also had the greatest percentage of voters who said he should drop out (33 percent).
The poll also shows that Democratic and independent voters’ want a demographic balance on the ticket, said Paleologos.
"When Democrats and independents were asked if they would be satisfied if their party's nominee for president and vice president were two white men, a plurality of respondents said no,” said Paleologos. “This means that if Biden or Sanders were nominated, they might see voter intensity drop should they tap a white male vice presidential candidate.”
Forty-four percent of Democrats and 36 percent of independents rejected the idea of an all-white-male ticket.
Other candidates, in descending order of voter enthusiasm, included Calif. Sen. Kamala Harris (36 percent), former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke (34 percent), Mass. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (32 percent), N.J. Sen. Cory Booker (31 percent), Minn. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (18 percent), N.Y. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (14 percent), and former HUD Secretary Julian Castro, (12 percent). Others presented in the poll had levels of excitement below 8 percent.
Democrats said they would chose a candidate who can win (48 percent) over one whose priorities are in line with their own (38 percent).
Issues that could swing Democratic voters toward a particular candidate are: higher taxes on the very wealthy (75 percent), Medicare for all (69 percent), free higher education (63 percent), breaking up tech companies and the Green New Deal (45 percent each).
Parties out of favor
High unfavorable ratings for America’s two major parties—48 percent unfavorable for both the Democratic and Republican parties—are reflected in many voters’ favoring third-party candidates or remaining undecided as they contemplate the 2020 presidential election. Donald Trump held an edge in an election scenario against unnamed opponents, with 39 percent of voters saying they would choose him if the election were held today, 36 percent choosing an unnamed Democratic nominee, and 11 percent a third-party candidate, with 14 percent undecided.
"Both the Democratic and Republican nominees will have to reconcile this 11 percent of voters who say that they would vote for a third-party candidate,” said Paleologos. “In fact among self-described moderate independent voters, the number jumped to 26 percent, and to 33 percent among independents who consider themselves liberal."
In terms of Trump’s job performance, 49 percent of voters disapprove and 48 percent approve, with 3 percent undecided.
College admissions scandal
In the wake of a federal investigation that unveiled a college admissions scandal, 67 percent of voters said the process for accepting students is unfair and favors the wealthy and well-connected, according to the poll, while 19 percent said the college admissions process was fair, and 13 percent were undecided on the issue.
The nationwide survey of 1,000 voters was conducted March 13 through March 17 using live telephone interviews of households where respondents indicated they were registered to vote. The margin of error is +/-3 percentage points at a 95 percent level of confidence. The margin of error for the subset of 600 Democratic and independent voters asked about potential Democratic candidates is +/- 4 percentage points. Results are posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center website. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310, firstname.lastname@example.org.