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Majority of Americans want independent probe into Trump–Russia ties, poll finds

Partisanship deeply affects the electorate’s stance on potential Kremlin collusion.


David Gilmour


Posted on Mar 6, 2017   Updated on May 24, 2021, 9:41 pm CDT

With allegations of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia refusing to go away, new CNN/ORC poll results published Monday morning show that 65 percent of American now want a special prosecutor to lead the investigation into the controversial connections.

The statistics come just one week after Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he would recuse himself from any formal Department of Justice inquiry into the matter, a decision that followed reports that he had met with a Russian ambassador while acting as a Trump campaign surrogate.

Despite that President Donald Trump and senior Republican senators have not expressed who they believe should be entrusted to lead the investigation, sizeable support for an independent inquiry exists across all political demographics.

A large majority (82 percent) of Democrats and 67 percent of independents support the appointment of a special prosecutor, as do a substantial 43 percent of Republicans. Only one-third of all respondents believe that Congress is capable of handling any investigation.

Episodic revelations of Russian contact still feature as a major concern for most of the electorate although the extent to which that is so is very much subject to partisanship. Over half of poll respondents expressed that they are at least somewhat concerned by allegations of Kremlin collusion.

The findings were that 71 percent of Democrats are “very concerned,” while 54 percent of Republicans have no concerns. In May 2016, a similar CNN poll found that Republicans were twice as likely as Democrats to see Russia as a threat.

The president’s overall approval ratings remain low and largely unaffected by a recent speech to Congress, which pundits expected to strengthen his support. According to the CNN poll, Trump’s support is up just one point, to 45 percent. This number is obviously affected by a range of issues with over half of respondents disapproving of Trump’s hot-point immigration and healthcare policies.

A quarter of Americans call the economy the most important issue facing the country, and it is an area in which Trump is rated most positively, with a 55 percent approval rating, up from 49 percent in January. All that could change for the better or worse as Trump’s budget, currently pending release, is drawn together.

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*First Published: Mar 6, 2017, 10:47 am CST