Republicans and Democrats split over Russia probes: Poll

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It’s a partisan cold war right here at home: A majority of Democrats think now-President Donald Trump’s campaign tried to help Russia influence the 2016 election, while a majority of Republicans think former President Barack Obama’s administration spied on the Trump campaign.

And fewer than half of Americans -- in either party -- are confident that Congress will sort it all out.

See PDF with full results here.

Overall, 56 percent in this ABC News/Washington Post poll think Russia tried to influence the election, and 39 percent think the Trump campaign intentionally tried to assist such an effort. Just among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, suspicions soar: Sixty percent think Trump aides assisted Russian efforts. Among Hillary Clinton voters, 72 percent say so.

Fewer overall, 32 percent, think the Obama administration intentionally spied on Trump and members of his campaign during the election, as Trump has alleged. But just among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, 55 percent think this occurred. And it’s 64 percent among Trump voters in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates.

These results, and similar gaps between liberals on one side and strong conservatives on the other, underline the depth of partisan mistrust still simmering three months into Trump’s presidency. Simply put, Democrats are motivated to see Trump’s presidency as illegitimate, while Republicans are motivated to believe his predecessor was up to no good.

Leaders in both parties in Congress have said the evidence establishes that Russia tried to influence the election. Yet just 38 percent of leaned Republicans and 32 percent of strong conservatives believe this to be the case, versus 73 percent of leaned Democrats and 77 percent of liberals.

Turning the tables, 55 percent of leaned Republicans and 63 percent of strong conservatives think the Obama administration spied on Trump and his campaign. Just 14 percent of leaned Democrats and 13 percent of liberals buy that idea.

Among other groups, suspicion that Russia tried to influence the campaign peaks at 83 percent Clinton voters, compared with 28 percent of Trump voters. As mentioned, 72 percent of Clinton voters not only think this happened, but also think Trump aides lent a hand. Among Trump voters, a mere 4 percent share that view.

Conversely, 64 percent of Trump voters (and 74 percent of those who supported him enthusiastically) think the Obama administration spied on Trump and his aides. Only 10 percent of Clinton voters agree.

Suspicions of Russian meddling reach 70 percent among Americans with a postgraduate degree, versus 55 percent of others; and two-thirds of minorities, versus 51 percent of whites. About half of postgraduates and nonwhites think the Trump campaign participated in Russian influence, versus 38 and 32 percent of their counterparts, respectively.

For its part, suspicion that the Obama administration intentionally spied on Trump reaches 47 percent among evangelical white Protestants, versus a quarter of the non-religious; and 44 percent among non-college white men, versus a quarter of college-educated white women.

Mistrust of Congress’ investigation also is partisan, but much less sharply so. Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents divide by 41-55 percent on whether the investigation will or will not be fairly conducted. Republicans and Republican-leaning independents split more evenly, 46-46 percent. Neither result reflects optimism.

Methodology

This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cellular telephone April 17-20, 2017, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,004 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points, including the design effect. Partisan divisions are 31-24-36 percent, Democrats-Republicans-independents.

The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, New York, with sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt Associates of Cambridge, Massachusetts. See details on the survey’s methodology here.