The reason for the Democratic result is clear. They’re convinced Trump’s guilty of about 800 different crimes, up to and including treason, and they’re itching to see it laid out in black and white.
The reason for the Republican result isn’t obvious. Righties overwhelmingly believe that Trump is innocent but they’ve also spent the better part of two years being told that Mueller’s an arm of the “deep state” and is conducting the most egregious witch hunt in American history. Logically they wouldn’t expect his report to clear Trump even if Trump’s innocent. Three-quarters of Republicans told CNN for this poll that they think the Russiagate probe is mainly an effort to discredit his presidency, in fact, not a serious matter that should be fully investigated.
If the fix is in, why do they want the report released? And why has support for releasing it *increased* among GOPers since last May?
Overall, 87% say investigators should release a public report, 9% that they should not. Support for a public release stands at 80% among Republicans and those who approve of the way the President is handling his job, and at 92% among Democrats and those who disapprove of the way Trump is handling his job. Among independents, 88% say a report should be released…
Overall support for a public report is about the same as last May, when CNN last asked this question and 84% favored a public report. But support has risen among Republicans, from 72% in favor then to 80% now.
There is no such partisan agreement on the question of collusion: 87% of Democrats say Trump’s campaign did collude with the Russian government, 88% of Republicans say it did not. Independents are about evenly divided: 42% say yes, 44% no.
Interest in the report is increasing on the right, I assume, due to the simple desire for closure on this sh*tshow. We’ve been watching a pulp mystery series for two seasons, with characters ranging from the by-the-book lawman to shadowy Russian agents to the president of the United States to whatever Roger Stone is. We have to find out if the prime suspect is guilty or innocent. Take it from a guy who’s still watching “The Walking Dead” five years after it ceased to be interesting: Sometimes you just need to know how a story, even a bad story, ends.
But there’s probably also an element here of wanting access to the report so that righties can crowdsource defenses to it on Trump’s behalf. If Bill Barr puts the report in a drawer but word slips out to the media that it was harshly critical of Trump, Republicans will be paralyzed in what to say about it. Harshly critical how? What is he accused of, specifically? Between the inevitable leaks and the lethal optics of Trump’s new handpicked AG suppressing the report’s release, his critics will be free to assume the worst with righties in no position to rebut them. Whereas if the report is published they’ll be free to pick it apart.
Don’t underestimate “Trump hasn’t said that it shouldn’t be released” as a reason for the Republican numbers either, though. When he was asked about this last weekend, he basically shrugged and punted the decision to Barr. If Trump has no opinion on whether the public should see it, GOPers are free to state their own preference to pollsters. If he turns around tomorrow, though, and declares that the report can’t be seen because it implicates national security, support for releasing it on the right will collapse overnight. That is to say, CNN’s numbers are somewhat misleading if they’re read as a gauge of what the public truly wants. Righties will defer to Trump’s preferences, as always.