Americans are not as dumb as the President of the United States thinks we are. Newly released polling data reveals that when it comes to Attorney General William Barr’s release of a so-called summary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, Trump has only succeeded in fooling himself. Americans are smart enough to know that a rushed four-page summary by a biased Trump appointee is no substitute for an independent and exhaustive report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, and we deserve better.
Preliminary results of a new Harvard CAPS/Harris poll released today show signs that Trump’s dark hypnotic powers are weakening. According to The Hill, 45% of U.S. voters approve of the job Trump is doing, while 55% disapprove. What is significant here is that although the poll was conducted following the release of Barr’s summary, the results were virtually the same as a month ago. Since the needle did not move, it appears Barr’s summary failed to deliver the knockout punch that was intended. Instead, the respondents appear to have dismissed the summary as unreliable while remaining unmoved by Trump’s “TOTAL AND COMPLETE EXONERATION!” victory tour. Most other polls have Trump’s approval rating lower than 45%, both before and after the Barr summary.
Another poll conducted after the release of Barr’s summary is also an encouraging sign that Americans are not buying Trump’s latest offering of snake oil. A new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll revealed that 75% of respondents (including 54% of Republicans) believe the full Mueller report should be released to the public. Only 18% overall said that Barr’s summary is enough. Not only does a majority of Trump’s party want the report released, Republicans have also warmed up to Mueller. After Barr released his summary, 32% of Republicans now view Mueller favorably, up from only 8% in December.
Barr’s summary painted the Mueller report as a big win for Trump, yet it nevertheless failed to lift his favorability even a notch. Instead, the summary succeeded in boosting Mueller’s favorability, especially among Republicans, who have now expressed that they have no appetite for trusting Barr’s word instead of reading the report for themselves. This means that not only is the Mueller report even more likely to be released soon (a letter from Barr to Congressional leaders today now promises “by mid-April, if not sooner”), when damaging information about Trump comes out, it is also more likely to be viewed as credible. Thank you, Barr.