Trump Job Approval Largely Unaffected By Mueller Report
The President's latest job approval numbers show little sign of movement in the wake of the release of the Mueller report
The latest poll from CNN and SSRS shows that the President’s job approval is actually at its highest level in two years after the release of the Mueller report and the ongoing fights between Administration and Congress over the continued investigation of the 2016 election and other matters. Other polling, however, paints a different picture:
With Robert Mueller’s investigation finished, Donald Trump’s approval rating stands at its highest level since April 2017 in a new CNN Poll conducted by SSRS, as the share who say Democrats in Congress are doing too much to investigate the President rises 6 points.
Trump’s approval rating remains largely negative in the new poll — 52% disapprove and 43% approve — but that approval figure is the highest — by one point — since a CNN poll completed around the 100-day mark of his time in office. At the same time, the share who say they strongly approve of the way the President is handling his job (35%) is at its highest level ever in CNN’s polling.
The American public increasingly feels that Democrats in Congress are going too far in investigating the President — 44% say Democrats are doing too much on that score, up from 38% saying so in March. That shift stems largely from independents, 46% of whom now say congressional Democrats are going too far.
Congressional Democrats have called for Attorney General William Barr to testify this week, including in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, and have issued subpoenas to try to gain access to the full, unredacted version of Mueller’s report and for former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify. The Treasury Department recently missed a deadline set by House Democrats for turning over the President’s tax returns, and the Trump administration is fighting subpoenas issued for financial records from accounting firms and banks connected to Trump
Even with growing concern about overreach, majorities want Congress to investigate whether Trump committed obstruction of justice in the course of the Mueller investigation (58%) and to pursue legal action to obtain the full, unredacted version of the Mueller report (61%). The public is divided on Barr’s handling of the release of Mueller’s report — 44% approve and 43% disapprove, with a wide partisan gap.
About two-thirds still say Trump ought to release his tax returns (66%, including 52% who consider it important for the President to do). And most, 54%, say the President is not doing enough to cooperate with Democratic investigations.
The poll finds no change in the share of Americans who say they believe the President ought to be impeached compared with a March survey conducted before the completion of Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Overall, 37% say Trump should be impeached and removed from office, 59% say they do not feel that way. And while most who do back impeachment feel that way strongly (34% of adults strongly support impeachment, just 3% back it but not strongly), the share who strongly oppose it is larger (45% say they feel strongly that the President should not be impeached).
The numbers in other recent polls are somewhat consistent with the CNN poll, but continue to show Trump operating within the same job approval range we’ve seen repeatedly in the past:
- The latest NPR/PBS/Marist poll, for example, shows the President’s job approval at 42% and his disapproval at 54%;
- In the latest Economist/YouGov poll, Trump’s approval stands at 44% and his disapproval at 53%;
- The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll puts the President’s job approval at 42% and his disapproval at 54%;
- In the latest poll from The Hill, Trump’s approval stands at 45% and his disapproval at 55%;
- The latest Reuters/Ipsos poll shows the President’s approval at 40% and his disapproval at 53%;
- In the latest Politico/Morning Consult poll, President Trump’s approval stands at 39% and his disapproval stands at 57%; and finally,
- In the Rassmussen poll, which has been a consistent outlier throughout the Trump Administration, the President’s job approval stands at the hard to believe level of 50% and his disapproval stands at 48%
All of these polls were taken in the period after the redacted Mueller report was released in mid-April and, with the exception of the Reuters poll which measures all adults, consists of interviews with either registered or “likely” voters. What these numbers tell us is that the release of the report has had little substantive impact on the President’s job approval and that, at least marginally, the public’s perception of Trump’s performance has improved slightly since the release of the report, although not by a statistically significant amount.
This is reflected in the polling averages, which show the President’s numbers as being largely stable in the short term. In the RealClearPolitics average, for example, the President stands at 43.0% approve and 52.8% disapprove, creating a deficit for the President of -9.8 points. In the FiveThirtyEight polling average, Trump’s approval stands at 41.5% and his disapproval stands at 53.2%, a deficit of -11.7%. For both measures, these numbers are largely consistent with historic norms for the President and they suggest that, at least for the time being, the release of the Mueller report has not caused the President any new damage. This can also be seen in the chart for the RCP average:
And the chart for the the 538 average:
This is I suppose good news for the President in the sense that it shows that, at least so far, he hasn’t seen any erosion in his base from the release of the Mueller report. Since it is the support from his base that the President is clearly most concerned with, this suggests that he and his Administration are likely to continue their present strategy of seeking to undermine the report and blocking efforts by House Democrats to expand their own investigations of both the 2016 campaign and other aspects of the President’s Administration, personal finances, and business dealings.