President Donald Trump's approval rating has taken a significant hit since the release of the Mueller report, according to the latest Politico/Morning Consult and Reuters/Ipsos polls, a sign that Americans are not convinced by Trump's insistence that the report exonerates him.
The Politico/Morning Consult poll found that Trump’s approval rating has dropped 5 points since the Mueller report was released last week, with only 39 percent of voters surveyed saying they approve of the job Trump is doing as president. As Politico observed:
"That is down from 44 percent last week and ties Trump’s lowest-ever approval rating in POLITICO/Morning Consult polling — a 39 percent rating in mid-August 2017, in the wake of violence in Charlottesville, Va."
The poll found that 57 percent of voters surveyed disapprove of the president's performance. Despite this, there isn't too much support for impeachment. "Only 34 percent of voters believe Congress should begin impeachment proceedings to remove the president from office, down from 39 percent in January," Politico wrote, noting that 48 percent believe Congress should not begin impeachment proceedings.
But 73 percent of Democrats want Congress to continue investigating the president. That's more than 59 percent of Democrats who say Congress should begin impeachment proceedings. Independents are split, according to Politico, "39 percent to 37 percent, on whether Congress should keep investigating — but just 31 percent of independents support beginning impeachment proceedings, compared with 44 percent who oppose impeachment."
The Reuters/Ipsos poll found that Trump's approval rating dipped to 37 percent, down three percentage points from a similar poll conducted just days earlier. Reuters says that's "the lowest level of the year following the release of a special counsel report detailing Russian interference in the last U.S. presidential election." The outlet also noted that's lower than the 43 percent in a poll conducted shortly after Attorney General William Barr released his summary of the Mueller report's contents.
The poll also found that 50 percent of Americans agreed that “Trump or someone from his campaign worked with Russia to influence the 2016 election,” and 58 percent agreed that the president “tried to stop investigations into Russian influence on his administration.” 40 percent of those surveyed believe Congress should begin impeachment proceedings compared to 42 percent who believe Congress should not.
Regardless of whether the results of both polls support impeachment or not, critics of the president believe his approval ratings should serve as further evidence of the public reaction to his crimes and his unfitness for office. Others believe Congress has more than enough support to begin impeachment proceedings.
The POLITICO/Morning Consult poll surveyed 1,992 voters and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. The Reuters/Ipsos poll surveyed 1,005 adults, including 924 who were familiar with the Mueller report. It has a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of 4 percentage points.
The Mueller report has been described as a road map to impeachment, and it notes that while Trump’s “efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests,” that doesn’t shield him from formal charges.
“The Constitution does not categorically and permanently immunize a president for obstructing justice,” Mueller wrote, adding:
“The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the president’s corrupt exercise of the powers of the office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.”
On the matter of exoneration, the Mueller report is quite clear: The special counsel and his investigators examined 10 episodes of the president’s possible obstruction and concluded that the investigation did not exonerate the president of wrongdoing:
“The evidence we obtained about the president’s actions and intent, presents difficult issues that would need to be resolved if we were making a traditional prosecutorial judgment. At the same time, if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
Despite this, the president has been accused of misleading the American public, as when he posted a “Mueller Investigation by the Numbers” video listing “0 Collusion, 0 Obstruction” to his Twitter page.
Earlier this morning, the president claimed he is the target of "Radical Left Democrats" who are disseminating negative stories about him and his administration.