- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Most voters say Democrats have yet to prove a convincing case tying President Trump to Russian meddling in the 2016 elections, according to a new poll being released Tuesday.

And a majority in the McLaughlin & Associates survey also say Democrats’ efforts to impeach Mr. Trump are a “partisan political ploy,” sending a cautionary signal as liberal activists agitate for the ultimate political punishment against the president.

The GOP firm surveyed 1,000 voters likely to cast ballots in 2020 last week, and said even as the headlines were filled with reports of Mr. Trump‘s former lawyer describing campaign finance violations, voters don’t yet see the president in trouble over Russia.

Just 32 percent said given what they’d seen, Democrats had produced evidence Mr. Trump “fixed” the election by cooperating with Russians. Another 46 percent said there’s no such evidence, and 21 percent were unsure at this point.

“You only get a third saying yes, and you’ve got almost a half saying no,” said pollster John McLaughlin. “The point of the whole thing is where that investigation is going now. After two years and tens of millions of dollars, they haven’t proved their case that the Russians had anything to do with Donald Trump winning.”

Just as striking was the 53 percent who agreed that impeachment now would be a “political ploy to stop President Trump.”

That’s higher than the 44 percent favorability rating Mr. Trump earned in the poll, suggesting even those who aren’t his fans are skeptical of impeachment.

Among self-identified independents, the breakdown was 48 percent who called impeachment a political ploy, compared to just 28 percent who disagreed.

The poll, part of McLaughlin & Associates‘ regular monthly surveys, will be posted Tuesday. Mr. McLaughlin was pollster for Mr. Trump during the 2016 campaign but said these questions were his alone.

They contrast with an NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll released over the weekend that found three in five Americans believe Mr. Trump isn’t telling the truth about Russia‘s 2016 election activities.

Some 46 percent say they believe there was “wrongdoing” by Mr. Trump himself.

The NBC poll surveyed adults and wasn’t limited to registered voters or likely voters.

Mr. McLaughlin also said asking if a politician lied is a layup for pollsters, but it doesn’t get at the heart of the debate over whether Mr. Trump can, or should, face real legal or political jeopardy.

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