Most voters believe Trump committed a crime — but still oppose impeachment

After Mueller report, slightly fewer Americans view Trump as a criminal. Most remain opposed to impeachment

Published May 2, 2019 2:05PM (EDT)

 (Getty/Alex Wong)
(Getty/Alex Wong)

A large majority of Americans believe President Donald Trump committed crimes before became president, but the same number of voters oppose impeachment, according to the results of a new poll released May 2.

The survey, conducted by Quinnipiac University, reveals that 57% of voters believe Trump committed crimes before being elected to president, while 28% do not.

Those numbers have shifted since March 5, when the previous poll was last taken. At the time, 64% of Americans said they believe Trump had committed crimes before he was elected.

The results of the latest Quinnipiac University poll come two weeks after the release of special counsel Robert Mueller's report detailing his nearly two-year investigation into foreign interference in the 2016 presidential election and allegations of obstruction of justice by the president.

Mueller did not find clear evidence of criminal conspiracy between Trump's presidential campaign and Russian agents during the 2016 election. And while he identified 10 cases of potential obstruction by the president in his report, he declined to reach a clear decision on whether Trump had obstructed justice.

While the special counsel's report left many questions unanswered, the latest Quinnipiac poll suggests his findings have led at least some Americans to change their minds about whether Trump committed any crimes before the 2016 election.

Voters are still evenly split on whether Trump has committed crimes since entering the White House — 46% believe he has, and 46 believe he hasn't.

While a significant majority of voters still believe Trump committed a crime before taking office, nearly the same proportion, 66%, believe Congress should not initiate impeachment proceedings against Trump. Just 29% of voters said lawmakers should launch an impeachment probe now.

Democratic voters clearly have an appetite for impeachment — 56% support it while 38% do not. Just 4% of Republican voters believe Congress should take steps toward impeachment while 95% oppose it. Tellingly, opposition to impeachment is extremely strong among independents — 70% are against it while 27% support it.

In the the two weeks following the release of Mueller's report, top Democrats have appeared cautious in addressing the question of impeachment proceedings.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has consistently discouraged talk of impeachment, and has made clear that House Democrats' near-term strategy is to focus on aggressively investigating the president and see where their various wide-ranging probes lead. Other top lawmakers have demanded the special counsel's unredacted findings and called for further hearings into the matter.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration has vowed to "fight all the subpoenas" from the legislative branch and to block congressional investigators from moving forward with their investigations. White House stonewalling has increased congressional Democrats' calls for impeachment. Whether this is a calculated strategy by Team Trump, designed to provoke an overreaction, is anyone's guess

The Quinnipiac University survey was conducted April 26-29 among 1,055 voters nationwide. Its margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, including the design effect. 

By Shira Tarlo

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