WASHINGTON ― President Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans’ sweeping attacks on the nation’s premier law enforcement agency appear to be working: Nearly three-quarters of Trump voters ― 74 percent ― say the FBI is biased against the president, a new HuffPost/YouGov survey finds.
Just under one-third of Trump voters say they have even a “fair amount” of trust in the FBI, while 64 percent say they don’t trust the FBI very much or at all.
The majority of Trump voters, 59 percent, strongly disapprove of the FBI’s handling of the Russia investigation, with an additional 20 percent somewhat disapproving of the job the bureau has been doing on the Russia probe.
Trump voters have also largely adopted Trump’s stance on the contents of a controversial Republican-authored memo, declassified by the president, that argues that the FBI and Justice Department acted improperly by getting permission from a court to surveil a former Trump campaign aide with longstanding ties to Russia. The memo makes the disputed claim that high-ranking FBI and Justice Department officials failed to disclose that information cited in their Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act application came from a partisan source.
Partisans’ reactions to the memo largely mirror their pre-existing feelings about the bureau itself. Of those Trump voters who’ve heard about the memo, 79 percent think it shows that the FBI did something wrong, and more than 80 percent describe the memo’s contents as accurate.
By contrast, although Hillary Clinton’s voters believe the FBI had a negative impact on her electoral chances, most still say they trust the FBI ― and just 5 percent believe that the FBI is biased against Trump. And among those who’ve heard about the memo, just 16 percent think it’s even somewhat accurate, with only 4 percent believing it shows wrongdoing on the part of the agency.
The two groups are also getting their news about the memo from distinctly different places. A majority of both Clinton and Trump voters who’ve followed the story say that cable TV was among the sources they relied on. But while those Clinton voters tuned in largely to CNN and MSNBC, the Trump voters who watched cable coverage of the story were overwhelmingly likely to say they’d seen it on Fox News.
Fox covered the memo extensively; Sean Hannity, a Fox host, tweeted that the memo was “explosive” and revelatory of an “unprecedented Government abuse of power,” describing the conduct revealed in the memo as “Watergate times a thousand.” And Republican members of Congress lined up to make explosive claims about the memo’s contents ahead of its release.
Now that the memo has been released, just under 70 percent of Americans now say they’ve heard of it, up from less than 60 percent in a previous survey. (Non-voters have largely tuned out the controversy altogether ― just 18 percent say they’ve heard a lot about the memo, and those who’ve heard at least something are relatively split about its accuracy.)
Overall, that leaves 35 percent of Americans who’ve heard about the memo saying that it shows the FBI did something wrong, and another 34 percent that it vindicates the bureau, with the rest unsure.
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the former Trump transition team member who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, was the driving force behind the memo. Referring to himself in the third person over the weekend, Trump said the Nunes memo “totally vindicates ‘Trump,’” and on Monday, he called Nunes a “Great American Hero.”
Republicans who appeared on the Sunday shows cautioned that the memo was a separate issue from the probe that special counsel Robert Mueller is running to examine possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 election, but some Trump voters haven’t gotten the message. About one-third of Trump voters think that the president should fire Mueller, according to another recent HuffPost/YouGov survey.
Use the widget below to further explore the results of the HuffPost/YouGov survey, using the menu at the top to select survey questions and the buttons at the bottom to filter the data by subgroups:
The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Feb. 2-4 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.
HuffPost has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. More details on the polls’ methodology are available here.
Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some, but not all, potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.