A majority of Americans (55 percent) trust special counsel Robert Mueller and his investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election, but 59 percent don’t trust President Donald Trump’s denial that his campaign was involved, according to a new Suffolk University/USA TODAY national poll. The survey also shows unfavorable views of President Donald Trump rising 6 points since June.

Fifty-eight percent of likely voters said they hold an unfavorable view of the president, compared to 52 percent in June, while his favorable rate has held steady at 40 percent since the early-summer poll. Trump’s job approval numbers tell a similar story, with 56 percent of voters either disapproving or strongly disapproving of his job performance, and 40 percent of voters saying they approve or strongly approve.

“Voters’ negative views of Trump have fluctuated over time, but his current troubles likely relate to the recent conviction of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and the guilty plea of former Trump attorney Michael Cohen,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston.

Special counsel

Sixty-nine percent of voters nationally believe that Russia made a serious effort to meddle in the 2016 election, while 21 percent did not think there was such an effort.

While 55 percent said that Mueller’s investigation into the matter is fair and accurate and it should take as much time as needed to finish, 33 percent said they had little or no trust in the special counsel’s investigation, and 40 percent said it should be wrapped up as soon as possible. Meanwhile, 63 percent of voters said the president should voluntarily submit to an interview with the special counsel.

The Mueller investigation led to Paul Manafort’s being convicted on eight charges related to financial fraud. While those crimes were unrelated to the 2016 presidential campaign, 36 percent of voters said these convictions gave them more confidence in Mueller’s ongoing investigation, while 21 percent said less, and 35 percent said they had no effect.

Meanwhile, Michael Cohen’s guilty plea on campaign finance charges has had a serious negative affect on voters’ views of Trump, with 61 percent saying that such legal developments raise significant questions about the president’s own behavior, while 27 percent said that the Cohen case has little to do with Trump.

“President Trump’s repeated denials of collusion and calling the investigation a witch hunt have clearly not resonated with the majority of voters,” said Paleologos. “However the one good sign for the president is on the impeachment question.” With 47 percent of voters against impeachment and 44 percent saying the House should seriously consider impeaching the president, Paleologos said: “Taking such a significant step is still too big a leap for most voters based on how the facts stand now.”

The “swamp”

Voters are also not seeing the results of President Trump’s signature campaign promise, to “drain the swamp” of Washington, with 57 percent saying that corruption in the nation’s capital has gotten worse under the Trump administration. Fifty-five percent of voters said that the country is on the wrong track, despite a similar number (58 percent) saying that we are in an economic recovery.

Methodology

The nationwide survey of 1,000 voters was conducted August 23 through August 28 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. Results are posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center website. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310, dpaleologos@suffolk.edu.