It was no surprise that a number of congressional Democrats disapproved of President Trump’s decision to abruptly fire FBI Director James Comey. However, a new poll has revealed that the majority of Americans are also less-than thrilled with Comey’s dismissal.
An NBC/WSJ poll found that only 29 percent of Americans approve of the decision. Thirty-eight percent disapprove, and another 32 percent said that they don’t know enough about the situation to say.
Among those who said that they have read, seen, or heard “a lot” about Comey’s firing, 53 percent said that they disapprove and 33 percent said they approve.
As the graphic below indicates, approval of Trump’s decision is split pretty predictably among party lines — more Republicans approve than Democrats. A higher number of Republicans and higher number of Independents — 33 percent and 42 percent, respectively — also said that they have “no opinion” on the firing. Meanwhile, only 24 percent of Democrats felt the same.
Forty-six percent of respondents said that they think the purpose Trump’s decision to fire Comey had to do with a desire to impede the FBI’s investigation into his potential ties to Russia. Of those who believe that this was the President’s motive, 74 percent are Democrats.
Thirty-eight percent, meanwhile, said that they thought the firing was due to Comey’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.
Trump’s approval rating has gone down within the last month, pollsters found, although only by one percentage point, which is within the poll’s margin of error. The decision to dismiss Comey didn’t seem to hurt his approval rating much, but it also didn’t help it. Trump’s approval rating was already dramatically low, and it now sits at a mere 39 percent.
The impact — or lack thereof — of Trump’s decision about Comey was illustrated by the number of people — 61 percent — who said the firing hasn’t changed their mind about him. Only six percent said they now view Trump more favorably, and 30 percent said they now view him less favorably.
Forty-one percent of respondents said that they have either a “great deal” or “quite a bit” of confidence in the President, while 57 percent said that they have no or “not much” confidence in him. These numbers are also very similar to responses given in April.
Confidence in Trump is low, as usual, but so is the American people’s confidence in Congress, especially compared to the FBI. The majority of respondents — 65 percent — said that they have either a “great deal” of confidence or “some” confidence in the FBI’s ability to conduct a fair and impartial investigation. Only 40 percent said the same about Congress.
Pollsters also found that, when it comes to continuing the Russia investigation without Comey, the overwhelming majority of Americans — 78 percent — support the lead being taken by an independent commission or special prosecutor. Only 15 percent said that they would rather have Congress lead the investigation.
The poll was conducted among 800 adults between May 11 and May 13. Nearly half of the respondents were reached by cell phone. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points.
Featured image via JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images.