Politics & Government

Voters want Congress to get Trump’s tax returns, Democratic poll finds

A majority of voters dispute President Trump’s characterization that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report exonerated him from wrongdoing and express strong support for controversial legislative action to obtain Trump’s tax returns, according to a new Democratic poll.

The survey, provided to McClatchy, also found tentative backing for continued probes into the president’s administration. However, on this front, nearly as many voters suggested that congressional Democrats had already taken their investigations too far.

Taken together, the poll — conducted in early May by the Democratic group Navigator Research — suggests Mueller’s findings have not yet eliminated the public’s appetite for further congressional oversight of the White House.

In the survey, 56 percent of voters said Mueller’s report revealed Trump committed wrongdoing, while 21 percent said they think he was “totally exonerated.”

Support is even larger for obtaining the president’s tax returns: 58 percent of those surveyed back that effort, compared with 30 percent who don’t. Forty-one percent of voters, meanwhile, strongly support obtaining the returns, while just 17 percent strongly oppose. Trump has broken recent precedent by refusing to release his tax returns, but is not required by law to do so.

The battle between Trump and House Democrats has taken center stage in Washington since the release of the Mueller report, with the president arguing it was proof he was innocent all along. Democrats, meanwhile, have used the report to call for further investigations into Trump and his administration, even as congressional leaders fend off calls from some grassroots activists to begin impeachment proceedings.

The public also gave low marks to Attorney General William Barr, with only 31 percent of voters saying they approve of the way he handled the release of the report while 44 percent said they disapproved.

Overall, just 22 percent of voters have a favorable view of the attorney general, compared to 39 percent who have an unfavorable view.

Still, just 48 percent of respondents said they are more concerned that the White House will “get away with corruption and unethical behavior” more than they are that Democrats will go too far with their oversight. Nearly as many people, 42 percent of them, said they worry more that Democrats will go too far.

The poll found that Trump’s approval rating at the beginning of May stood at 41 percent, with 55 percent disapproving. That’s up slightly from April, when the same survey found Trump with a 39 percent approval rating and 58 percent disapproval rating.

The poll of 1,008 registered voters was conducted online from May 2-6.

Alex Roarty has written about the Democratic Party since joining McClatchy in 2017. He’s been a campaigns reporter in Washington since 2010, after covering politics and state government in Pennsylvania during former Gov. Ed Rendell’s second term.