POLITICS

Mueller Poll Shows Very Few Republicans Believe Russia Interfered In 2016 Election

A large chunk of Republicans thinks the special counsel will find no one on Trump's team committed crimes -- despite several guilty pleas already.

WASHINGTON ― Nearly two years into special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, a new HuffPost/YouGov survey finds that only a minority of Republican voters believe that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

And even though a number of former Trump campaign officials have already pleaded guilty to crimes, a large chunk of Trump voters believes Mueller will eventually conclude that no one on Trump’s team broke any laws. 

Just 27 percent of Republicans believe that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, the poll found, with 54 percent saying Russia didn’t play a role and the remainder unsure. By contrast, 80 percent of Democrats and half of the public overall say they believe Russia interfered in the election.

Mueller’s investigation has led to the indictments of 13 Russians accused of posing as Americans and using social media to damage Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and boost Trump, as well as 12 Russian intelligence officers charged with hacking the Democratic National Committee and releasing stolen documents.

While members of Trump’s campaign ― George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates and Michael Cohen ― have already admitted criminal wrongdoing, 43 percent of Republicans think Mueller’s investigation will conclude that nobody on the Trump campaign committed any crimes. An additional 38 percent expect the investigation to find that members of the Trump campaign, but not the president, commited crimes. Just 6 percent of Republicans expect Mueller to implicate the president.

Democrats have extremely high expectations the Mueller probe will reach the White House, with 60 percent of Democrats and 70 percent of Clinton voters saying they believe Mueller will conclude that Trump himself committed crimes. (Federal prosecutors have already said that Trump ― who they referred to as “Individual 1” ― directed Cohen to make illegal payments to cover up alleged affairs that could have hurt his campaign.)

Opinions on the Mueller investigation have changed relatively little over the past year, according to the survey, despite a number of new indictments and other developments. Americans are split 38 percent to 37 percent on whether they approve or disapprove of the FBI’s handling of the Russia investigation; in February 2018, they were split 35 percent to 37 percent.

As in past polling, opinions remain largely ossified along partisan lines, and often even more sharply along electoral ones. Just 34 percent of Trump voters have even a fair amount of trust in the FBI, with nearly three-quarters believing the bureau is biased against the president. By contrast, 84 percent of Clinton voters express at least a fair amount of trust in the FBI, with about two-thirds expecting the agency to deal fairly with Trump. Both sets of numbers are little changed from the previous survey.

The remainder of the public, whose political views might be more malleable, are largely tuned out of the story. Just 26 percent of non-voters say they’ve been following about Mueller’s investigation even somewhat closely, and only 27 percent report having at least a fairly good understanding of what the investigation has uncovered. More than half say they’re not sure whether they approve of Mueller’s handling of his job as special counsel.

About the same percentage of Trump and Clinton voters said they were following news about the Russia probe “very closely,” but a larger number of Trump voters (36 percent) than Clinton voters (30 percent) claimed they understood what Mueller had uncovered “very well.”

The survey indicated that 73 percent of Clinton voters thought the Trump campaign’s relationship with Russia was a “very serious problem,” while 63 percent of Trump voters thought it was “not a problem at all.” Nine out of 10 Clinton voters believe Russia interfered in the 2016 election, while 50 percent of Trump voters say Russia did not interfere in the election.

Use the widget below to further explore the results of the HuffPost/YouGov survey, using the menu at the top to select survey questions, and the buttons at the bottom to filter the data by subgroups:

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Feb. 7 and Feb. 8 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.

HuffPost has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. More details on the polls’ methodology are available here.

Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some but not all potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.

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