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Poll shows Americans taking the Trump-Russia scandal seriously

Republicans have been working from the assumption that the public doesn't much care about the Trump-Russia scandal. A new poll points in the opposite direction.
Image: Russian President Vladimir Putin responds to US President Donald Trump ordering missile strikes on Syria
A combo picture made reissued on 07 April 2017 shows US President Donald J. Trump (L) at the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 09 February 2017, and Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) in St. Petersburg, Russia, 03 April 2017.

There hasn't been a lot of public polling about the Trump-Russia scandal lately, so I was glad to see this question in a CNN survey released this week:

"U.S. intelligence agencies have said that they believe the Russian government attempted to influence the outcome of the U.S. presidential election last year through hacking of political campaigns and the release of selected information. If this assessment is correct, do you think that would be a crisis for the United States, a major problem, a minor problem, or not a problem at all?"

The poll found that 22% of Americans see the scandal as a "crisis" -- up from 17% earlier this year -- while an additional 44% believe it's a "major problem." Combined that's two-thirds of the country that sees Donald Trump's Russia scandal as an important story.

The same poll found that 64% of Americans believe the investigation into Russia's attack is "a serious matter that should be fully investigated," while 32% see the investigation as "mainly an effort to discredit Donald Trump's presidency." That's a two-to-one margin.

The survey went on to ask, "How concerned are you about reports that people associated with Donald Trump's campaign had contact with suspected Russian operatives during last year's campaign?" A 44% plurality said they were "very concerned" -- the highest it's been all year -- while an additional 21% said "somewhat concerned."

Finally, a 59% majority said they believe Donald Trump personally knew last year about people from his campaign being in contact with Russian operatives.

Republicans have been working from the assumption that the American mainstream doesn't much care about the Trump-Russia scandal. Even many Democratic strategists believe the party, if it's going to make significant gains next year, should focus on kitchen-table issues, and not on the biggest White House controversy in a generation.

There is some fresh evidence, however, that much of the public takes this story quite seriously.