Opinions Unchanged About Trump and Russia, Voters Care More About Health Care and Tax Plan Anyway

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(Little) Fallout from the Barr Letter

PPP’s newest national poll finds that Bill Barr’s letter summarizing the findings of the Mueller investigation hasn’t done much to help Donald Trump with public opinion…and that voters are a lot more interested in health care and the Republican tax plan than the Russia investigation anyway.

-49% of voters think that Trump has committed obstruction of justice, to 40% who say they don’t think so. When PPP previously asked that question in June of 2017 49% said they believed Trump had committed obstruction of justice, to 41% who didn’t think so.

-44% of voters think that members of Trump’s campaign team worked in association with Russia to help Trump win the election for President to 43% who don’t think so. When PPP asked the same question in January, 45% thought there was collusion, to 43% who thought there wasn’t.

-51% of voters characterize Trump as being a liar to 42% who disagree with that descriptor. That’s actually up from a 48/44 spread on our January poll.

-68% of voters think Robert Mueller’s full report should be released publicly, to only 19% who don’t think it should be. Interestingly while Clinton voters want the report released 88-7, Trump voters only want it released by a 46-37 spread, suggesting some trepidation among his partisans about what story the full picture might tell.

If the Mueller investigation had turned out a different way, it’s still not likely there would have been much movement in public opinion. Trump voters have been consistent in saying they think there was no collusion- but they’ve also been consistent in saying they don’t care even if there was. Just 11% of Trump voters think he should resign even if collusion was proven, to 77% who think he should stay in office.

Trump’s approval rating is 42%, identical to what it was on PPP’s last national poll earlier in March. 52% of voters disapprove of the job he’s doing.

The Things Voters Care About More

Voters don’t care that much about the Russia investigation anyway though. When asked whether they think health care or the Russia investigation is a more important issue, health care wins out 80-8. And when asked whether the Republican tax plan or the Russia investigation is a more important issue, the tax plan wins out 65-18. And Trump and Republicans have a lot of trouble on both of those issues.

The Affordable Care Act continues to enjoy the new found popularity it’s had since Trump took office. 49% of voters support it to just 30% now who are opposed. There’s strong opposition to the Justice Department’s recently expressed support for striking down the Affordable Care Act- just 34% of voters agree with them on that to 53% who disagree.

Trump’s proposed cuts to Medicaid and Medicare are possibly the most unpopular thing he’s done since taking office. Just 20% of voters support them to 67% who are opposed. It’s hard to find an issue where Trump’s voters against him, but on these cuts only 39% of his own base stands with him to 40% opposed. Clinton voters stand against the cuts 88-6. Overall voters trust Democrats more than Republicans on the issue of health care 49-38.

The tax plan that Trump and Republicans hoped would get them back on the good side of public opinion in late 2017 after the party’s summer troubles with health care is proving to be a problem for them too. Only 25% of voters support it, to 40% who are opposed. Just 25% of voters think the tax plan has actually helped their family’s finances, with the other 65% pretty evenly split between saying it’s actually hurt (32%) or had no impact (33%) on their families. There continues to be a strong sense that it was done just for the benefit of the wealthy- 52% think the rich will be the main beneficiary to 25% who say the middle class and 8% the poor.

Tax season is unlikely to do much to help the popularity of the tax bill. Among those who have already done their taxes, 30% said they paid more in taxes than they thought they were going to have to, while only 25% say they ended up paying less.

The State of the 2020 race

There’s constant arguing about who is and is not electable in the Democratic Presidential field. But the reality right now is that Trump polls pretty much the same no matter which Democrat you test against him, coming in at 40-42% support. Joe Biden with a 53-40 advantage over Trump does the best. Beyond that the rest have pretty similar numbers. Bernie Sanders leads Trump 49-41, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker do 48-41, Elizabeth Warren does 48-42, Kirsten Gillibrand and Beto O’Rourke do 47-41, and Pete Buttigieg does 45-41. The relative strength of the Democrats seems to generally correspond with how prominent they’ve been on the national scene over time.

Democrats also have a 51-40 lead on the generic Congressional ballot, consistent with their strong advantage on that metric throughout the 2018 election cycle.

Trump’s Feuds (he’s losing them all)

55% of Americans have a favorable opinion of John McCain, to 25% with a negative one. Clinton voters view McCain favorably 77/12, while Trump voters view McCain unfavorably 32/45. That finding more than anything may show the extent to which voters are forming their opinions about everything these days through the lens of their feelings about Trump. When asked which of the two they have a higher opinion of, McCain beats out Trump 57-33. He has a 91-3 advantage with Clinton voters on that question, while Trump wins out 73-16 with his own voters. That makes it pretty clear it’s Trump’s party, regardless of what ‘Never Trump’ Republicans who have lost their relevance within the party might try to claim.

Trump and his allies came out swinging against the media after the release of the Barr letter, seeing it as a validation of their constant attacks on the media. Voters aren’t having it. They trust the media in general over Trump, 50/39. And it’s a similar story when it comes to Trump’s feuds with individual media outlets:

-Voters trust NBC and CBS each over Trump 52-38.

-They trust ABC and the New York Times each over Trump 51-38.

-They trust the Washington Post more 49-38.

-They trust CNN more 49-39.

Odds and Ends

-If they had a choice 56% of voters wish Barack Obama was still President to only 40% who prefer having Trump in the White House.

-There’s just 41% support for Trump’s long wished for wall with Mexico, compared to 52% of voters opposed to it.

-Only 40% of voters think Trump has delivered on his core promise to ‘Make America Great Again,’ 55% say he has not.

-57% of voters would like to see Trump release his tax returns, 34% say he should not. It’s another example of Trump voters not really wanting any transparency from their President though- only 18% of his base say he should release his returns to 71% who don’t think he should.

-57% of voters support changing to a national popular vote system, to 34% who want to keep the current electoral college system.

-There’s a huge difference in public opinion when it comes to statehood for Puerto Rico and Washington DC. Voters strongly support statehood for Puerto Rico 54-27, but narrowly oppose it for Washington DC 32-37.

-53% of voters support automatic voter registration, to 30% opposed.

-When it comes to basketball’s GOAT, it’s no contest. Michael Jordan beats LeBron James 58-13. There’s never been any doubt on this question with the general public but when we polled on it last year MJ’s advantage was ‘only’ 54-14. LeBron’s first year as a Laker has served to broaden the gap. The supremacy of Jordan over LeBron is a rare thing that brings Americans together across party lines. Republicans (68-3), independents (52-12), and Democrats (53-21) are all in agreement.

-Finally we find that there’s a lot more division on the crucial issue of pineapple on pizza. 45% of voters support it to 35% who are opposed.

Full results here

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