Here’s another really important finding from today’s Post/ABC News poll:
Since Trump took office, do you think the amount of corruption in Washington has increased, decreased, or stayed about the same?
Stayed the same 39
Pathetically for Trump, given his vow to “drain the swamp,” a plurality of Americans think corruption has increased. And only 13 percent believe corruption has decreased. With the 39 percent who think it has stayed about the same, a total of 84 percent believe Trump hasn’t drained squat. (Corrected.)
It gets worse for Trump — and for Republicans — when you peek into the internals. Among noncollege whites, who (we are constantly told) supposedly continue to believe Trump is battling the elites on their behalf, only 18 percent think corruption has decreased. Forty three percent say it’s the same, and 36 percent say it has increased.
And get this: According to crosstabs sent my way, only 25 percent of Trump voters believe corruption has decreased, while 60 percent of them say it has stayed the same, and 12 percent say it has increased.
The numbers are also terrible or Trump among independents. Forty-one percent of them say corruption has increased, versus only 11 percent who say it has decreased, with the remainder saying it has stayed the same. Independents will matter bigly in the midterms, and my bet is their perceptions of corruption will play a key role in how they vote.
On that score, note these numbers on the Russia probe:
Independents support special counsel Robert S. Mueller’s investigation by 67-24.
Independents say Trump interfered with Mueller’s investigation in a way that amounts to obstruction of justice by 53-35.
Independents say the case against former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort was justified by 70-15.
Independents oppose a pardon for Manafort by 68-16.
Independents side with Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to let the Mueller probe proceed (rather than protecting Trump from it, as he has demanded) by 63-21.
Independents believe that Trump committed a crime when he directed Michael Cohen to make hush-money payoffs by 62-29.
Independents lean slightly in favor of impeachment proceedings beginning against Trump by 49-46.
You often hear it argued that Democrats must take great care not to talk about the Russia probe, and should instead make the midterms all about corruption, as if this topic is somehow separate and distinct from the investigation and Trump’s handling of it. But this overlap in sentiment on the two suggests that there’s no need for this.
Majorities of independents, and of overall voters, believe the Russia investigation and its offshoots have implicated Trump in wrongdoing, and that he is improperly trying to obstruct the probe. Virtually no one believes he has drained the swamp, and other polls have shown majorities still want to see his tax returns. The Russia revelations, and Trump’s handling of the investigation, and his efforts to evade transparency on his self-dealing are all part of the same story, in which he continues to corrupt the process on multiple fronts, to dodge accountability and act with impunity.