Two polls released on Monday shows that over 50 percent of Americans are at least somewhat concerned about reports of President Donald Trump‘s campaign team communication with members of the Russian government before the 2016 election.
The CNN/ORC poll also shows that two-thirds of Americans want a special prosecutor to lead an investigation into possible ties between the campaign and Russia.
A new USA Today/Suffolk University Poll also found that 58 percent of those surveyed want and independent investigation into the Trump campaign’s communications with Russian officials. Also in that poll, 63 percent of respondents said that they see Russia influencing the 2016 election as a serious issue. Almost half of the respondents call it a “very serious issue.”
Despite these concerns, the CNN/ORC poll doesn’t show Trump’s approval rating dipping significantly. In fact, the poll of 1,025 Americans conducted between March 1 and March 4 shows his approval rating up from 44 percent in January to 45 percent. Still, a 53-percent majority disapprove of his performance.
The CNN/ORC poll found that 65 percent of respondents want an independent prosecutor to look into Trump’s alleged ties with Russia, while 32 percent has confidence in Congress to handle the investigation.
However, when the respondents are broken down by party, the results are very different. Fifty-four percent of Republicans have faith in Congress, while 43 percent want an independent prosecutor. Among Democrats, 65 percent want a special prosecutor and just 32 percent think Congress can handle it.
Fifty-five percent of respondents are at least somewhat concerned about reports that Trump campaign staffers had contact with Russian operatives. Forty-five percent are not at all concerned or not too concerned.
Since the poll was conducted this past weekend, it followed Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from all potential investigations into the 2016 campaign. Sessions did so after reports that he spoke with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak twice before the 2016 election. The last day of the poll was Saturday, when Trump made the startling allegation that President Barack Obama ordered a wiretapping of Trump Tower phones in October. Trump offered no evidence to back this claim up, instead urging Congress to investigate if “executive branch investigative powers were abused in 2016.”
While Americans have taken reports of the Trump campaign’s communications with Russia seriously, Trump himself has not. He has decried many reports as “Fake News” repeatedly. During his February 16 press conference, he bluntly called Russia “fake news” and suggested that the leaks to the press were caused by Obama holdovers. However, at one point during that press conference, he said the leaks were real, but the news was fake.
Just eight percent of Republicans think it is likely that intelligence agencies were correct in determining that Russia sought to influence the 2016 election. Fifty-two percent of Democrats think it is extremely likely that intelligence agencies were right.
Most Americans also believe that Russia poses a serious threat to the U.S. Overall, 75 percent of Americans think Russia poses a very serious threat or a moderately serious threat. While Trump might say it would be nice for the U.S. to have a better relationship with Russia, even 77 percent of Republicans at least think Russia is a moderately serious threat. Eighty-five percent of Democrats think Russia poses at least a moderately serious threat.
The CNN/ORC poll was also conducted after Trump’s Joint Session speech, which the Trump Administration hoped would change Americans’ view of him. But it didn’t help, at least based on the results in the CNN/ORC poll. Only 49 percent thought that Trump’s policies will move the country in the right direction, up just a single point from the previous poll in January. Fifty-three percent think that Trump’s policies don’t reflect their priorities.
There is one good sign for the Trump Administration in the poll. His handling of the economy has gained more fans since January. In January, 49 percent approved of his handling of the economy, while 55 percent approve in the new poll.
Trump’s most recent Gallup approval rating has him at 43 percent.