Months of conservative attacks on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation may be taking a toll on his public image, according to a new Morning Consult/POLITICO poll.
The Justice Department’s lead investigator into alleged ties between Russia and the Trump campaign has seen his unfavorable rating among Republicans jump by 14 points since late July, when the poll first began to track his public standing.
Mueller’s unfavorable rating among Republicans is at 41 percent in the latest Morning Consult/POLITICO survey, up from 27 percent in mid-summer. His favorability has remained fairly constant among Republicans — at 23 percent in the new poll versus 22 percent last summer.
The negative spike comes amid recent conservative efforts — amplified by President Donald Trump — to discredit Mueller’s probe as a partisan “witch hunt.” It could also reflect GOP anger at the apparently broad scope of the former FBI director’s inquiry, which reportedly includes Trump’s private business and the finances of his son in law, Jared Kushner.
By contrast, Mueller’s indictments of Trump associates and signs of a deepening probe seem to be winning the hearts of Democrats. The poll — conducted March 1-5 — shows Mueller with a 49 percent favorability rating among registered Democrats. That’s his highest rating since the survey first asked that question in its July 27-29 poll, when Mueller had a 32 percent favorability ranking with Democrats.
Independents haven’t changed their opinions much on Mueller. He had a 28 percent favorable rating last week, compared with 22 percent in late July. Mueller’s unfavorable ratings among independents were at 24 percent last week, compared with 21 percent last summer. And the number of independents who responded with no opinion of Mueller or said they’d never heard of him sat at 48 percent last week, compared with 58 percent when the question was first asked.
Despite generating nonstop headlines since his appointment last May, Mueller remains little-known to many Americans. Thirty seven percent of registered voters surveyed last week said they had no opinion or had never heard of the former FBI director.
That represents a drop from 52 percent last July. But it’s also still higher than either Mueller’s favorable or unfavorable ratings — 35 percent and 28 percent, respectively — among the entire universe of people who participated in the poll.
The latest Politico/Morning Consult poll surveyed 1,993 registered voters. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.
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