In late February 2018 — just after Mueller indicted 13 Russians and three companies, accusing them of trying to influence the 2016 election by stirring up anti-Clinton and pro-Trump sentiment online — Quinnipiac University asked poll respondents whether they thought the Russian government tried to influence the 2016 presidential election. Seventy-six percent said “yes,” while 18 percent said “no.” One month earlier, however, only 68 percent had said “yes,” while 27 percent had said “no.” Although we can’t know for sure, it’s reasonable to theorize that the indictments played a role in that increase.
CNN also asked Americans about the Mueller investigation immediately after the February indictments. In that survey, 61 percent of respondents said Russian election meddling is “a serious matter that should be fully investigated”; 34 percent said “it’s mainly an effort to discredit Donald Trump’s presidency.” That also represented a slight uptick from the previous month’s results: In January, 58 percent said it was a serious matter, and 38 percent said it was an effort to discredit Trump.
But in March, the next CNN poll threw a curveball: The figures dropped back down and have stayed at those levels ever since: The most recent poll, taken in June, showed a 55-percent-to-35-percent split.