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Voters Favor Jail, Firing for Rogue Officials Who Targeted Trump

Monday, December 16, 2019

Voters are ready to jail or fire senior law enforcement officials who illegally targeted President Trump, but most think they are unlikely to be punished.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone and online survey finds that 52% of Likely U.S. Voters consider it likely that senior federal law enforcement officials broke the law in an effort to prevent Trump from winning the presidency. Thirty-nine percent (39%) say that’s unlikely. This includes 36% who say it’s Very Likely they broke the law to get Trump and 24% who say it’s Not At All Likely. These findings are virtually unchanged in surveying since February of last year. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

A plurality (43%) thinks these officials should be jailed if they are found guilty of breaking the law to prevent a Trump presidency, up dramatically from 25% early this year, while another 22% say they should just be fired. Fifteen percent (15%) favor a formal reprimand. Just 11% say no disciplinary action should be taken.

But only 34% of voters believe the officials in question are likely to face criminal charges for their anti-Trump activity, with just 16% who say it’s Very Likely. Fifty-five percent (55%) see criminal prosecution of these rogue officials as unlikely, including 24% who feel it’s Not At All Likely. These attitudes are essentially unchanged from two months ago despite the recent release of a Justice Department inspector general’s report detailing wrongdoing by senior law enforcement officials.

Eighty percent (80%) of voters who Strongly Approve of the job Trump is doing think it’s Very Likely that senior federal law enforcement officials attempted illegally to deny him the presidency. Among voters who Strongly Disapprove of the president’s job performance, only nine percent (9%) agree.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted December 12 and 15, 2019 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.

The U.S. Justice Department’s inspector general has concluded that James Comey improperly leaked information to the news media while he was serving as head of the FBI, and voters by a 47% to 35% margin think he should be criminally prosecuted. 

Seventy-seven percent (77%) say they have been closely following news reports about the inspector general’s investigation of the FBI, with 41% who have been following Very Closely. Among those following the news Very Closely, 55% think it’s Very Likely that senior law enforcement officials broke the law in an effort to get Trump.

The older the voter, the closer they have been following the news about the Justice Department IG report.

Republicans (71%) are a lot more likely than Democrats (39%) and unaffiliated voters (46%) to suspect federal law enforcement officials of trying to prevent the Trump presidency. GOP voters are also the most likely to think they’ll be criminally charged.

Fifty-six percent (56%) of Republicans think convicted offenders should be jailed, a view shared by 35% of Democrats and 38% of unaffiliateds. Fifteen percent (15%) of Democrats say there should be no disciplinary action, compared to five percent (5%) of Republicans and 13% of unaffiliated voters.

Fifty-eight percent (58%) of all voters said in April that it is likely President Obama or his top aides were aware that U.S. intelligence agencies were spying on the Trump campaign and the Trump transition team.

Law enforcement officials were investigating alleged contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, but earlier this year Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation concluded that no such collusion took place. Sixty-seven percent (67%) of Democrats don’t agree with Mueller’s conclusions, but 76% of Republicans and 50% of unaffiliated voters do.

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

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