The whole “in one graph” formulation is an anachronism, I admit it. Stories aren’t neatly compressed into single graphs, particularly stories as complicated as investigations into whether presidents worked with foreign powers to influence federal elections. About six years ago, using “in one graph” to entice readers was a function of a click-based economy that promised effective distillation of similarly complex material and rarely delivered. It was, really, clickbait, and, like much bait, seemed to work.
Anyway, here’s the aftermath of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation in one graph.
Fox News asked people last week whether they expected the release of Mueller’s findings to change how they felt about President Trump. Overall, 4 in 10 respondents said there was no chance — no chance! — that anything in the report would change their minds. “Trump is a pod person who was born on a planet orbiting Alpha Centauri.” “Meh.”
Among those who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, fully half said that nothing in Mueller’s findings would change their minds — presumably including complete exoneration. Among Trump voters, 4 in 10 said the same thing, presumably including any involvement by Trump in Russia’s interference effort.
More Republicans and Trump voters said there was at least a small chance that their minds might be changed than did Democrats. But across the board, 7 in 10 respondents said that, at most, there was only a small chance that their minds would be changed about Trump. The exception is independents, who were most likely to say that there was a small chance their minds might be changed. (One in 5 independents said they didn’t know whether their minds might be changed.)
Why such certainty? It is in part because Trump had effectively set expectations. Nearly three-quarters of Republicans told Fox News pollsters that they saw the Mueller probe as a “bogus attempt to undermine Trump’s presidency,” so even negative findings were unlikely to persuade them on Trump’s culpability. Democrats had much more confidence in the Mueller probe — almost certainly because most expected Mueller to prove that the Trump campaign had coordinated with Russia. Three-quarters of Democrats told Fox News that they believed he had.
In the aftermath of the preliminary findings from Mueller’s report being published, it seems at least anecdotally as though people’s predictions about their minds not being changed were right on the mark.