Crooks, Liars and Polls

Published: March 24, 2019

By Jim Lichtman
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Special Sunday Edition

U.S. Attorney General William Barr is working with top Department of Justice Officials to compile “principal conclusions” from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report.

Courtesy, Dan Piraro,

While everyone is speculating what those conclusions will reveal, it’s important to remember what has already happened, as reported by Vox (Mar. 22).

Michael Flynn: Trump’s national security adviser, on one count of lying to the FBI

Rick Gates: Trump’s former deputy campaign manager and Manafort protégé, on one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of making false statements to FBI agents

George Papadopoulos: a low-level Trump foreign policy adviser, for making false statements to the FBI about his contacts with Russians during the campaign

Paul Manafort: Trump’s former campaign chair, who pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy against the US and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Roger Stone: a longtime Trump friend and adviser, is currently on trial for his alleged interactions with WikiLeaks, the organization that released emails from the Clinton campaign stolen by Russia.

Michael Cohen: Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, who pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about a possible Trump Organization real estate project in Moscow that was under consideration during the 2016 presidential campaign.

All of these individuals, ALL have lied about numerous events and information surrounding candidate Trump. Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was not only found guilty on conspiracy charges, but “eight counts of financial crimes.”

Before taking office, Trump said that he would hire the “best people.”

In August 2018, a “Monmouth University Poll found that only 30 percent of respondents believe that Trump has hired the ‘best people,’ with 58 percent saying he has not,” according to Politico.

Nonetheless, a recent USA Today poll (Mar. 18), suggests that the country is evenly split: “half of Americans agree with President Donald Trump’s contention that he has been the victim of a ‘witch hunt.’

Trump tweeted: “Wow! A Suffolk/USA Today Poll, just out, states, ‘50% of Americans AGREE that Robert Mueller’s investigation is a Witch Hunt.”

Despite the fact that Trump has told more than 9,000 whoppers; more than any U.S. President in perhaps the last century, Trump’s war of attrition would appear to be working.

However, take a closer look at the wording of the survey question:

“President Trump has called the Special Counsel’s investigation a ‘witch hunt’ and said he’s been subjected to more investigations than previous presidents because of politics. Do you agree?”

On March 20, writes, “…the responses were based on a problematic survey question, some experts say.

“ ‘The first problem is that it’s a double-barreled question,’ said [Timothy] Johnson, who is also the director of the Survey Research Laboratory and professor of public administration at the University of Illinois at Chicago. A double-barreled question is one that asks respondents to answer two questions at once.

“ ‘Are they being asked if they agree that the investigation is a “witch hunt,” or that Trump has been investigated more often because of politics,’ Johnson said. ‘Those who responded with “yes” could have been answering either question or both.’

“Monmouth University Polling Institute Director Patrick Murray made a similar point about the Suffolk University/USA Today survey question in a Twitter thread on March 18.

“Another issue is that the question doesn’t offer a counter to Trump’s claim. ‘It only tells one side of the story,’ Johnson said.

“He said it would be better to ask respondents if they agree that the investigation is a ‘witch hunt,’ as Trump claimed, or if they agree that possible collusion is something that ‘needs to be investigated thoroughly,’ as others have claimed.

“ ‘It’s always the goal to be balanced,’ he said. ‘Given the flaws mentioned,’ Johnson said, ‘we’re not certain that this accurately reflects public opinion.’ ”

FactCheck adds, “The Suffolk University/USA Today survey is not the only one that has tried to measure how Americans view the Mueller investigation. Here are the questions and results from six other polls taken in the last five months. Some indicate there’s less skepticism of the special counsel’s probe.

Washington Post/Schar School Poll, Feb. 6-10 (margin of error ±4 percentage points)

Q: Do you think Mueller is mainly interested in (finding out the truth), or that he’s mainly interested in (hurting Trump politically)?

Finding out the truth: 57 percent

Hurting Trump politically: 36 percent

No opinion: 8 percent

CNN Poll, Jan. 30-Feb. 2 (MOE ±3.8 percentage points)

Q: Thinking about the investigation into Russian efforts to influence the U.S. presidential election in 2016, which comes closer to your point of view about it?

You think it’s a serious matter that should be fully investigated: 58 percent

You think it’s mainly an effort to discredit Donald Trump’s presidency: 37 percent

No opinion: 5 percent

CBS News Poll, Jan. 18-21 (MOE ± 3 percentage points)

Q: As you may know, there is an investigation into dealings between Trump associates and Russia. Do you think the investigation is justified, or is the investigation politically motivated?

Justified: 50 percent

Politically motivated: 45 percent

Don’t know/NA: 5 percent

Hill.TV/American Barometer Poll, Dec. 15-16, 2018 (MOE ± 3.1 percentage points)

Q: Which comes closest to your view of the Special Counsel’s investigation into the 2016 election?

It is an unbiased investigation dealing with serious issues: 58 percent

It is a biased political investigation designed to hurt President Trump: 42 percent

NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll, Nov. 28-Dec. 4, 2018 (MOE ± 3.7 percentage points)

Q: Which of the following statements comes closer to your opinion about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible wrongdoing and Russian interference in the 2016 election?

It is a “witch hunt”: 33 percent

It’s a fair investigation: 54 percent

Unsure: 13 percent

Quinnipiac University National Poll, Nov. 14-19, 2018 (MOE ± 3.5 percentage points)

Q: Do you think that the investigation into any links or coordination between President Trump’s 2016 election campaign and the Russian government is a legitimate investigation, or do you think it is a political witch hunt?

Legitimate: 50 percent

Witch hunt: 44 percent

Don’t know/NA: 6 percent

No matter what you believe, what’s most important is that we trust whatever the findings are that come from Special Counsel Mueller and his team.

Tomorrow: What I Hope For


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