Wednesday, June 14, 2017
A sizable number of voters, including most Republicans, believe former FBI Director James Comey should be punished for leaking to the media.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 41% of all Likely U.S. Voters believe Comey should be prosecuted for leaking information to the media at the time he was director of the FBI. Slightly more (47%) disagree and say he should not be prosecuted for leaking at the time he was one of the nation’s top law enforcement officials. Twelve percent (12%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Sixty-six percent (66%) of Republicans favor prosecuting Comey; 67% of Democrats are opposed. Voters not affiliated with either of the major political parties oppose prosecution by a 51% to 38% margin.
Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee last week that he leaked memos of his private meetings with President Trump to the New York Times through a friend. But critics of Comey who was fired by the president for poor job performance believe he leaked to the media on more than that one occasion.
The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on June 12-13, 2017 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.
Following Comey’s public testimony last week, voters tend to believe that the president tried to interfere with the FBI’s investigation of any possible ties between the Russian government and Trump or his associates. But as usual, party affiliation makes a big difference.
Sixty-four percent (64%) of self-identified conservative voters believe Comey should be prosecuted for leaking. That compares to only 33% of moderates and nine percent (9%) of liberals.
Among voters who Strongly Approve of the job the president is doing, 83% support prosecution for the fired FBI director. Seventy-nine percent (79%) of those who Strongly Disapprove of Trump’s job performance oppose prosecution.
Just prior to Comey’s public testimony, voters gave him a slight edge in terms of trust over the president.
Voters weren’t overly impressed with Comey’s performance as head of the FBI, and his testimony last week merited a predictable partisan response.
Seventy-five percent (75%) of Democrats rate the media coverage of Comey’s testimony as good or excellent, a view shared by only 31% of Republicans and 47% of unaffiliated voters.
Opponents of the Trump administration have been routinely leaking sensitive information to the media. Fifty-three percent (53%) of all voters consider the leaking of classified information to the media to be an act of treason. The information leaked by Comey, however, was not classified.
Voters are almost evenly divided over whether the questions raised about Comey’s firing are due mostly to concern that the law may have been broken or are just partisan politics.
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