Politics

'Not innocent, not guilty, no consensus' – The Mueller report has not changed Americans' minds about Trump and Russia: NBC/WSJ poll

Key Points
  • Nearly 30% say special counsel Robert Mueller has cleared the president of wrongdoing, the same proportion who had predicted that before the report's release, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. A 42% plurality says Mueller did not clear Trump, while 29% remain unsure.
  • Overall, Trump's public standing remains little changed. The proportion approving of the president's job performance has ticked up slightly to 46%, while 51% disapprove. But his job rating has moved within a narrow band for some time now.
  • A 51% majority approves Trump's economic performance, while 41% disapprove.
Robert Mueller
Larry Downing | Reuters

So far, at least, release of the Mueller report hasn't changed public opinion about President Donald Trump even a little bit.

That's the conclusion of the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, taken following public dissemination of a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's findings on Russian interference in the 2016 election and potential obstruction of justice since then. Fully eight in 10 Americans say they've heard the news, but virtually no minds changed.

"The public has reached a hung jury," said Democratic pollster Peter Hart, who conducts the NBC/WSJ poll with Republican counterpart Bill McInturff. "Not innocent, not guilty, no consensus." 

Six in 10 say Trump has not been truthful about Russian interference, matching the levels of recent months. Just over one in three, a group consisting largely of his Republican supporters, believes him.

Twenty-nine percent say Mueller has cleared the president of wrongdoing, the same proportion who had predicted that before the report's release. A 42% plurality says Mueller did not clear Trump, while 29% remain unsure.

Nor have numbers moved on the matter of potential impeachment by Congress.

Just 17% say enough evidence exists for the House to begin impeachment hearings, virtually identical to responses to the same question in March. Another 32% want Congress to continue investigating and decide on impeachment later.

Taking those two together, that means 49% want Congress not to drop the issue. A matching 48% has heard enough to say flatly that the House should not pursue impeachment.

VIDEO3:5403:54
Robert Mueller expressed frustration with AG Barr's Russia investigation summary

Americans render similarly mixed verdicts as they consider the possibility of future election interference by a foreign power such as Russia. Three-fourths say they have "just some" confidence or none at all that the U.S. government could prevent interference from taking place. Yet fewer than half, 45%, describe themselves as very or fairly worried about that.

Overall, Trump's public standing remains little changed. The proportion approving of the president's job performance has ticked up slightly to 46%, while 51% disapprove.

But his job rating has moved within a narrow band for some time now. Trump's modestly improved standing matches his numbers from February, before release of Mueller's report.

The president benefits from a solid thumbs-up for his handling of the American economy, which continues its solid 10-year recovery from recession and financial crisis. A 51% majority approves Trump's economic performance, while 41% disapprove.

That reflects dividends from the strong 3.2% growth in gross domestic product during the first quarter of 2019, and the robust labor market that added 263,000 jobs in April. Two years ago, before growth accelerated following the December 2017 tax cuts, Trump's standing on the economy stood at 44% approve, 46% disapprove.

NBC/WSJ polls conducted the survey of 900 adults by telephone from April 28-May 1. It carries a margin for error of 3.27 percentage points.