Poll: Plurality of voters want special counsels for both campaigns

Poll: Plurality of voters want special counsels for both campaigns
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A plurality of voters in a new poll want special counsel investigations of the 2016 presidential campaigns of both Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRepublican Ohio Senate candidate slams JD Vance over previous Trump comments Budowsky: Why GOP donors flock to Manchin and Sinema Countering the ongoing Republican delusion MORE and President Trump.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is already spearheading an investigation into whether Trump campaign officials had improper contacts or colluded with Moscow during the election. 

So far, Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and an associate have been indicted for financial crimes. A low-level adviser, George Papadopoulos, has pled guilty to lying to investigators about his contacts with Russians.

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The latest Harvard CAPS/Harris survey found the public split on the question of Russian collusion, with 38 percent saying they believe the special counsel has found hard evidence of the Trump campaign colluding with Moscow, 36 percent saying there is no hard evidence yet and 27 percent saying they don’t know.

But 44 percent of voters surveyed said a special counsel is needed to investigate both campaigns. Twenty-seven percent said only Trump needs to be investigated, 21 percent said only Clinton needs to be investigated and nine percent said neither should be investigated.

“The public thinks these investigations are hurting rather than helping our democracy but if there are going to be investigations, overwhelming majorities support investigating the Clintons — over two-thirds would investigate either both campaigns or just Hillary’s campaign,” said Harvard CAPS/Harris Co-Director Mark Penn.

The Justice Department sent a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteFight breaks out between Jordan, Nadler over rules about showing video at Garland hearing The job of shielding journalists is not finished Bottom line MORE (R-Va.) this week saying it has asked prosecutors to look into a range of allegations about Clinton and whether they warrant special investigation.

At a hearing on Capitol Hill this week, Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsPress: For Trump endorsement: The more sordid, the better Those predicting Facebook's demise are blowing smoke If bitcoin is 'digital gold,' it should be taxed like gold MORE, who is under pressure to investigate Clinton from Trump and high-profile figures in conservative media, backed away from that idea, telling lawmakers that he is still evaluating the matter.

The House Judiciary and the House Oversight and Government Reform committees are investigating the FBI’s probe into Clinton’s private server and her handling of classified documents.

But voters are also suspicious of Clinton’s campaign and its involvement in funding a salacious opposition research report about Trump, which was compiled by a former British intelligence agent who was in touch with senior Russian officials.

There are questions about whether that dossier has been used by the FBI or the special counsel as part of investigations into Trump or his campaign.

Sixty-one percent say Clinton and the Democratic National Committee, who jointly paid for the dossier after a conservative media outlet initiated the opposition research, should be investigated by a special counsel for their involvement.

Sixty-six percent of voters say the dossier is less credible because of the Democrats’ involvement and 58 percent say it cannot be relied upon for information.

In addition, 65 percent of voters say there should be an investigation into the $145 million contribution the Clinton Foundation received from the owners of Uranium One, a Canadian firm that was sold to Russian investors when Hillary Clinton was secretary of State.

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The House Intelligence and Oversight committees are jointly probing that matter as well.

Voters are conflicted over Mueller. Thirty-three percent view him favorably, while 31 percent have an unfavorable view of him. 

But 54 percent say his professional relationship and friendship with former FBI Director James Comey, whose firing by Trump precipitated Mueller’s appointment as special counsel, represent a conflict of interest for him. 

“Mueller is seen as having a significant conflict of interest — one large enough to typically disqualify a special counsel," Penn said.

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll online survey of 2,350 registered voters was conducted from Nov. 11-14. The partisan breakdown is 37 percent Democrat, 32 percent Republican, 28 percent independent and 3 percent other.

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll is a collaboration of the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard and The Harris Poll. The Hill will be working with Harvard-Harris Poll throughout 2017. 


Full poll results will be posted online later this week. The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey is an online sample drawn from the Harris Panel and weighted to reflect known demographics. As a representative online sample, it does not report a probability confidence interval.