Approval for special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election has dropped to an all-time low among registered voters, according to a poll released Wednesday.
Thirty-six percent of voters now view Mueller in an unfavorable light, up from 23 percent in July 2017 when polling began, according to a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll. Broken down by party, 53 percent of Republicans said they view the special counsel negatively, while the number of Democrats who view Mueller unfavorably rose to 24 percent.
President Donald Trump and his political allies have upped the criticism directed at the special counsel’s probe, saying it has gone on too long and reached beyond its intended scope. In the midst of continued critiques, the latest poll shows a 26-point increase in unfavorable views among Republicans since polling began 11 months ago.
Several Republican leaders have spoken out against the investigation. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) has said that if there is no evidence of collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia, the special counsel’s investigations should end soon.
"This has gone on for more than a year," McCarthy told CNN’s "State of the Union" June 3. "Let them walk through their investigation. But if there is no collusion, it’s time to wind this down."
Mueller took over the investigation last May after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed him to serve as special counsel for the United States Department of Justice. Mueller has publicly landed indictments of 3 companies and 19 people, including 13 Russian nations, in the course of the investigation.
Charges include those against Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort for tax evasion and bank fraud. Manafort sued to have the case against him dismissed, arguing Mueller overstepped his bounds by charging him for conduct he says is unrelated to Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Mueller has obtained guilty pleas from former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and four other individuals. Flynn admitted to lying to FBI officials about his communication with a Russian ambassador before Trump took office.
The special counsel’s favorability fell slightly from 22 percent in July 2017 to 18 percent among Republicans. Fifty percent of Democrats, meanwhile, and 28 percent of Independents view Mueller in a positive light.
The poll was conducted June 7-10 among a sample of 1,994 registered voters. It has a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points.