Pollster: 'Average American' does not see 'smoking gun' in Mueller probe

Pollster Emily Ekins said Friday that the "average American" does not care about special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's probe as much as people who live in major coastal cities or members of the press.

"I think that a lot of people out in the United States just don't care about this issue the way that people in Washington, D.C., and New York City, and people that are in journalism and media care about this issue," Ekins, director of polling at the Cato Institute, told Hill.TV's Jamal Simmons on "What America's Thinking." 

"People just don't really see the smoking gun in the Russia investigation," she continued. "I think a lot of people see through it as people who are trying to understand how [Democratic presidential nominee] Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump to declassify controversial text messages, documents related to Russia probe Hypocrisy in Kavanaugh case enough to set off alarms in DC Clinton: Hard to ignore 'racial subtext of virtually everything Trump says' MORE lost, and that this is kind of their way of holding onto that. But the average American … just doesn't care that much," she continued.

Ekins said that while Americans seem to be in favor of Mueller's probe into Russian election interference and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, they have yet to see evidence backing up the special counsel investigation.  

"They're fine with an investigation. They don't like corruption. They want to hold people accountable to it, and they don't think that Trump is honest, but they don't see the smoking gun yet," she said.  

A new American Barometer survey found that Americans are split on whether they think Mueller has uncovered evidence showing collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.  

Thirty-nine percent of respondents said they believe Mueller has evidence of collusion, while 36 percent said they disagreed. Twenty-five percent of respondents said they were unsure in the matter.

Mueller has made progress in his more than year-long investigation, securing indictments or guilty pleas from a series of Russian nationals and former Trump campaign officials, including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn, and former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos

Manafort was convicted last month on eight counts of bank and tax fraud last month, which were unrelated to his work on the Trump campaign. 

— Julia Manchester