- The special counsel Robert Mueller’s report appears unlikely to hurt President Donald Trump in the 2020 election.
- There’s growing evidence that voters are unmoved by the report’s findings and are more concerned with other issues.
- Trump’s approval rating has remained relatively steady as more details of the report have emerged over the past few weeks.
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The special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on his investigation into Russian election interference is continuing to dominate Washington’s attention and divide lawmakers.
The report contained myriad revelations about President Donald Trump and his associates, leading a number of Democratic lawmakers to ramp up calls for the president’s impeachment.
Meanwhile, Democrats have also slammed Attorney General William Barr over his handling of the report’s rollout, and some have called for his resignation.
But there’s also evidence the 400-page document probably won’t hurt Trump in the 2020 election.
Voters don’t rank the Mueller report as a top issue
Mueller did not charge Trump with a crime, but he did not fully exonerate him, either. The report outlined 11 instances of potential obstruction of justice by Trump, for example, and suggested that the president was close to breaking the law multiple times but was prevented from doing so only because his aides refused to follow his orders.
Top Democrats, such as House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, have suggested the report is a “roadmap” for Congress to look into the president and that it could even provide the basis for impeachment proceedings.
But many Americans appear unmoved by the findings, and some aren’t even interested in looking at them. Public opinion has barely fluctuated, even as more details have become available.
An INSIDER poll conducted after the redacted Mueller report’s release found that 31% of Americans have not read it and don’t plan to.
And polling suggests that other issues are much more important to voters than the special counsel’s investigation.
A CNN poll from March asked voters to point to one issue that would “be the most important to them when deciding whom to support in next year’s presidential election.” Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference was not named by a single respondent.
A Monmouth University poll of Democratic caucusgoers in Iowa released on April 11 similarly found that not a single person offered up Mueller or the Russia investigation as a top issue.
Meanwhile, an NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll found just above just 39% of Americans have heard “a lot” about the Mueller report.
Comparatively, 56% heard “a lot” about the president’s decision to fire former FBI director James Comey at the time, and 66% said the same about the release of the infamous Access Hollywood videotape featuring Trump making lewd remarks about women that was released shortly before the 2016 election.
Trump’s approval rating has remained relatively steady
Perhaps most importantly for Trump, it doesn’t seem like the report has done much to budge people’s opinion of him. Both before and after Mueller delivered his report to Attorney General William Barr in March, Trump’s approval rating has been relatively steady.
The day before Barr set his four-page summary to Congress, Trump’s approval rating stood at 41.9%, according to FiveThirtyEight’s approval-rating tracker, which is based off data from all publicly available approval polls. As of Wednesday, almost two weeks after a redacted version of Mueller’s report was made public, FiveThirtyEight’s tracker shows Trump’s approval rating at 41.5%.
Additionally, a new CNN poll shows Trump’s approval rating at 43%, the highest level he’s received in a CNN poll since April 2017.
Over the course of roughly two years, Mueller’s investigation has dominated headlines, inspired more than 100 tweets from the president, and divided Washington.
Despite all of the hoopla, the investigation and report have not done much to help or hurt Trump, and as of now it’s hard to see any of it following the president into the ballot box next year in a significant way.