New polling indicates that a majority of American voters are against beginning impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, although an even bigger majority approves of the appointment of a special prosecutor to probe the Russian government's alleged meddling during the 2016 election.
On May 24, a Politico/Morning Consult poll found that 46 percent of registered voters did not believe Congress should begin impeachment proceedings against the president, while 38 percent believed doing so would be appropriate. The remaining 16 percent either did not know or had no opinion, Politico reports.
Breaking down the data, Democrats were considerably more likely to favor impeachment proceedings than other voters. A remarkable 68 percent of Democratic respondents said that Congress should begin impeachment proceedings, while only 12 percent of GOP respondents and 33 percent of independent respondents agreed.
"The Democratic base is not taking allegations against President Trump lightly," said Chief Research Officer Kyle Dropp of Morning Consult.
On May 17, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed former FBI director Robert Mueller as a special prosecutor to head the Department of Justice investigation into Russia's attempts to subvert the 2016 presidential race. The probe will also look into whether members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russian officials, USA Today reports.
Rosenstein's decision was prompted by the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, which sparked allegations that Trump was attempting to obstruct the federal investigation into his campaign.
"I have determined that a special counsel is necessary in order for the American people to have full confidence in the outcome," Rosenstein said in a statement.
The survey data indicated that voters agreed, with 63 percent of respondents approving of Mueller's appointment and only 22 percent disapproving. A significant amount of voters -- 39 percent -- said they "strongly" agreed with having a special prosecutor leading the Russia probe.
The poll found that 47 percent of voters believed Trump dismissed Comey to obstruct the federal investigation into Russia, while 34 percent believed that the president simply did not have confidence in the FBI director's ability to lead.
On May 22, a Harvard-Harris poll found that only 41 percent of registered voters believed that the DOJ investigation into Russia would result in Trump's impeachment, while 59 percent believed the inquiry would come to an end without such a development.
The survey also found that 48 percent of respondents believed that members of the Trump campaign had colluded with Russian officials while 52 percent believed they had not, The Hill reports.
While surveys indicate that a majority of voters do not want to see Trump impeached, the controversy surrounding the Russia probe has dinged the president's approval ratings.
Aggregating the last eight national polls released between May 13 through May 23, Real Clear Politics found that Trump currently has an average approval rating of 40 percent; 54 percent disapprove of his job performance.