Trump approval rating holds steady despite Cohen’s legal firestorm

President Trump’s approval rating held steady even after his former personal attorney implicated him in a campaign finance case, with voters also showing little appetite for impeachment, according to the latest Harvard CAPS/Harris poll released exclusively to The Hill.

The number of Americans who approve of Trump’s job performance stood at 46 percent, according to the survey, in line with the president’s 45 percent support level last month.

The poll was conducted Aug. 22-23, the two days after Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to a variety of charges.

Cohen on Aug. 21 also implicated the president in campaign finance violations after saying he arranged payments to two women alleging affairs with Trump at the direction of the president “for the principal purpose of influencing the election.”

{mosads}Cohen’s guilty pleas came almost at the same time that a Virginia jury was convicting former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort of eight charges of bank and tax fraud. 

“Trump continues to strengthen his job approval as the economy strengthens,” said Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll co-director Mark Penn.
“So far the Cohen and Manafort events have had no impact on Trump’s job approval as they don’t see events about nondisclosure agreements as important enough or relevant to his job. This suggests a widening gap between the voters, the media and the investigations.”
“After Cohen and Manafort, the public said in effect ‘so what?’ ” Penn concluded.

The latest Harvard CAPS/Harris poll also showed only 37 percent of respondents advocated for impeachment, though that was up from 32 percent in June.

Meanwhile, 22 percent said he should be formally censured by Congress, while 41 percent believed lawmakers should take no action at all against the president, down from 47 percent in June. 

Democratic leaders have remained reluctant to raise the specter of impeachment, fearing it could cost them support from independents while risking a higher turnout among Trump’s supporters in the midterm elections.

The Harvard CAPS/Harris poll showed 40 percent of registered voters said the prospect that Democrats could vote to remove Trump from office would make them more likely to cast their vote for a Democrat in November.

By contrast, 26 percent said that impeachment by a Democratic-controlled House would make them less likely to support a Democrat in the midterms, while 33 percent said the prospect of impeachment would have no effect on their vote.

The legal cases enveloping Manafort and Cohen come as special counsel Robert Mueller continues his investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 election and whether the Trump campaign colluded with the country.

The poll showed 58 percent believe the investigations are hurting the country, with 54 percent saying that bias had played a role in launching the investigation — down from 59 percent in June. Meanwhile, 39 percent believe there’s no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia — down from 41 percent in June.

Trump’s overall approval rating in the Harvard CAPS/Harris poll was higher than RealClearPolitics average of polls that show Trump’s support at 43.4 percent.

Trump maintained his high approval rating with Republicans, which stood at 86 percent. Only 16 percent of Democrats approve of the job Trump is doing, while about 38 percent of independent voters approve of the president’s performance. 

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll online survey consisted of surveys of 1,330 registered voters. The partisan breakdown is 37 percent Democrat, 32 percent Republican, 29 percent independent and 2 percent other.

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll is a collaboration of the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University and The Harris Poll. The Hill will be working with Harvard/Harris Poll throughout 2018.

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.

Tags Donald Trump Michael Cohen Paul Manafort Robert Mueller Trump approval rating

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