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More Voters Want a Special Prosecutor to Investigate FBI

Friday, April 27, 2018

As Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation wears on and former FBI Director James Comey’s book drops more inside information about the 2016 election, more voters now think a special prosecutor should be assigned to investigate the FBI.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 54% of Likely U.S. Voters believe a special prosecutor should be named to investigate whether senior FBI officials handled the investigation of Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump in a legal and unbiased fashion, up from 49% who said the same in January. Thirty percent (30%) disagree, but a sizable 16% are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.) 

Sixty-three percent (63%) of Republicans are calling for an outside prosecutor to investigate the FBI, along with 52% of voters not affiliated with either major political party. Among Democrats, 46% favor a special prosecutor, up from just 38% four months ago. Thirty-four percent (34%) of Democrats are opposed, but 20% are undecided.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on April 22-23, 2018 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Fifty percent (50%) of voters believe it’s at least Somewhat Likely senior federal law enforcement officials broke the law in an effort to prevent Trump from winning the presidency. But 42% believe Russia is more likely than the FBI to have meddled in the 2016 presidential race

Seventy-seven percent (77%) of voters who Strongly Approve of the job Trump is doing think a special prosecutor is needed to investigate the FBI. Among those who Strongly Disapprove of the president’s job performance, only 36% agree.

Two-thirds (66%) of self-identified conservative voters think a special prosecutor is needed, but only 45% of moderate and liberal voters agree.

Men are more likely than women to want a special prosecutor. Similarly, voters under 40 are pushing harder for one than older voters.

Still, most voters continue to view the embattled FBI favorably and aren’t ready to fire the federal police agency’s director, Christopher Wray. 

Former Director Comey, however, has taken to print and the airwaves to angrily denounce President Trump, the man who fired him last year. But voters don’t rate Comey’s FBI performance too highly, and more think he should be legally punished for leaking to the media.

Forty-one percent (41%) of voters agree with Trump’s decision last year to fire Comey, up five points from last May shortly after he was terminated as FBI Director. Forty-five percent (45%) disagree with Trump’s decision. But Republicans and Democrats are not as evenly divided. Sixty-three percent (63%) of GOP voters think firing Comey was a good move by Trump, but 68% of Democrats disagree with the decision.

While more and more questions are being raised about the direction and the fairness of Mueller’s investigation, voters think Trump should leave him alone. Forty-six percent (46%) of all voters share a favorable opinion of Mueller, another former FBI Director.

But voters increasingly believe his probe is politically biased and also tend to think he is unlikely to nail the president for anything criminal. 

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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