Special counsel Robert S. Mueller’sis coming to a close soon, about two years after it began. What’s the political landscape in Congress regarding the report? And will the report’s findings change Americans’ views?
Public opinion on Mueller’s investigation has been consistent since it began. With such a complex topic, how are those polls constructed?
On this week’s episode of the “Where Did You Get This Number?” podcast, host Anthony Salvanto chats with CBS News political correspondent Ed O’Keefe and deputy director of surveys Jennifer De Pinto about the possible fallout from the report in Congress and the polls.
O’Keefe said that the first question is, almost immediately leading to a fight between Democrats and the Justice Department over what will be revealed. But while into the Trump administration, they also need to keep their constituents in mind.
“And so they’re going to have to balance any focus by House Democrats, especially on investigations and impeachment, with actual passage of other legislation on ‘kitchen table’ issues that they campaigned on and promised that they would address once they got to Washington,” O’Keefe said, referring to Senate Democrats.
O’Keefe also expects most Republican members of Congress to continue standing by President Trump, barring new evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. He noted that none of the Republicans in Congress have really taken a stand against the president during his term thus far.
Public opinion has consistently reflected the partisan divide in Congress, with most Republicans regarding the special counsel investigation as politically motivated, while most Democrats see it as fair and justified, according to De Pinto.
“Many people may be getting their information from their own political party or sources that they trust,” De Pinto said. “So it might make sense that their views would be in line with what their party says. And some people may have already made up their minds to a certain degree.”
Salvanto and De Pinto also discuss how pollsters frame a complicated issue like the special counsel investigation, such as testing out specific language from a political figure. In one case, they discussed using President Trump’s characterization of the probe as a “witch hunt.”
“Most of those in his own party do think the investigation is a, and this shows that the president’s message is resonating at least with his supporters,” De Pinto said. “We have asked whether people find the investigation justified or politically motivated and this gets at what the president has been saying, but not using his specific language. And we don’t find very much difference on these questions.”
Subscribe to “Where Did You Get This Number?” and download the latest episode to listen to more of their conversations on how the special counsel polls are constructed and what Congress may do moving forward.
Producers: Allen Peng, Luis Giraldo, Oscar Gonzalez
Host: Anthony Salvanto