If you are infuriated by the fear-mongering and conspiracy-spinning coming out of the right-wing media machine (not to mention the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee), you can take some solace in the knowledge that most Americans do not believe their hooey.
The Marist poll is the latest to confirm high levels of support for the FBI and the Russia investigation:
Two-thirds of Americans (66%) say, if President Donald Trump and the FBI disagree, they would believe the FBI over the president. Only 24% of U.S. residents report they would take the side of Mr. Trump. With the exception of the president’s most ardent supporters, more Americans put credence in the FBI than in the president.
More than seven in ten Americans do not think the FBI is out to get President Trump’s administration. 71% of U.S. residents assert the Bureau is just trying to do its job. In contrast, 23% believe the FBI is biased against the president. Although 49% of Republicans believe the FBI has a grievance against Mr. Trump, more than four in ten (43%) say the Bureau is just carrying out its duties.
Trump went up against the FBI, and so far the FBI is winning. The degree to which his web of lies and smears has not even persuaded a majority of Republicans is somewhat remarkable, given how strong his support remains among Republicans. Perhaps even for Republicans, there is a bridge too far in the Trumpian cult.
To be blunt, the vast majority of Americans approve of the FBI (“65% of residents have a favorable impression of the FBI. 28% have an unfavorable one. Regardless of demographic group, at least a majority of Americans, including 55% of Republicans, have a positive view of the FBI”); the vast majority of Americans disapprove of Trump (54 percent disapprove/38 percent approve — although other polls recently have shown a higher level). Moreover, the intensity of opposition against Trump far outweighs the intensity of his support. (“The proportion of Americans who strongly disapprove of how President Trump is performing in his post (44%), up from 39% last month, also continues to outweigh the proportion who strongly approve (24%).”)
If Trump thinks he can discredit the Russia investigation, he might reconsider:
Mueller has been tasked with investigating potential Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, and seven in ten residents (70%), including 55% of Republicans, want Mueller to finish his investigation. 16% of Americans think Mueller should be fired, and 14% are unsure. Last month, similar proportions of Americans had these views. . . . .
A majority of Americans (53%) consider Mueller’s investigation to be fair, a modest increase from 48% previously. 28% think the probe is unfair, and one in five (20%) are unsure. A partisan divide exists. While 77% of Democrats and 51% of independents perceive the investigation to be fair, a plurality of Republicans (46%) say it is unfair. 35% of the GOP, though, think the investigation is being carried out without prejudice, and a notable 19% of Republicans are unsure.
Also, according to Marist:
Many Americans do not think President Trump has done something illegal in his dealings with Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Yet, they are not willing to clear him of all wrong doing. 57% of residents believe President Trump acted either illegally (29%) or acted unethically but did not break the law (28%). Only 36% say Trump did nothing wrong. Of note, the proportion of Americans who think the president’s behavior was illegal is up from 22% in October.
Finally, Republicans may take the blame for failure to act to protect our electoral process from foreign meddling. By a 73 percent to 18 percent margin, Americans think Congress has done little or nothing to protect against future interference.
In sum, the GOP-led Congress and Trump are not winning over the public. At least in this poll, Democrats maintain a generic ballot advantage (49 percent to 38 percent), well above the level many analysts say is necessary to win the House majority. If Republicans want to boost their numbers, they might consider shutting down Nunes’s conspiracy machine, ceasing their baseless attacks on law enforcement and taking steps to prevent Russia from again putting its thumb on our electoral scales.