Branch, NJ – Donald Trump’s approval rating has slipped into majority
negative territory since the last Monmouth University Poll. The public
is split over whether the president’s attitude toward Russia poses a national
security threat for the U.S., although the level of concern increased after
news broke about Trump’s conversation with Russian officials in the White
House. A majority feel our allies will now be less willing to share sensitive
intelligence information with the U.S. government after hearing these reports.
The poll also found that most Americans believe that FBI director James Comey
was fired in order to hinder the ongoing investigation into Russian ties with
the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.
The president’s job rating
currently stands at a net negative 39% approve and 53% disapprove. It was more
evenly divided two months ago at 43% approve and 46% disapprove. Trump’s rating
has dropped slightly among residents of the nearly 2,500 counties that gave him
a victory margin of ten points or more, from 55%-33% in March to 51%-41% today.
It has also dipped in the 400+ counties he lost
by ten points or more – from 33%-57% to 28%-64% in the current poll. Trump’s
biggest decline, though, came among residents of swing counties – the 300
counties where 2016’s winning margin was in the single digits – dropping from
41%-46% in March to 34%-54% in the current poll.
“Trump has been losing support in
the places that matter most,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent
Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, New Jersey.
When interviewing for the poll
began on Saturday, the big news was the Comey firing. By the time the poll
wrapped up, the headlines had moved to reports of Trump casually sharing
sensitive intelligence information with Russian officials and the appointment
of a special counsel. The Monmouth
University Poll found an insignificant shift in Trump’s job rating during
this period, going from 39%-51% in Saturday-Monday interviews to 39%-54% in
Tuesday-Wednesday interviews. [Note: the
poll did not take an independent sample on each day of interviewing. The poll
results-by-day reported here reflect weighting adjustments to key demographic
variables for each day’s interviews in order to make appropriate comparisons.]
Half (51%) of the public say they
are concerned that the president is too friendly toward Russia, including 39%
who are concerned a lot and 12% who are concerned a little. Another 45% are not
concerned. Concern is just slightly higher than when Monmouth asked this
question in March (48%), in January right before Trump took office (48%), and
in August during the election campaign (45%). However, there was some movement in
opinion while this poll was being conducted. In Saturday-Monday interviews, 35%
said they are concerned a lot Trump
is too friendly toward Russia, which increased to 43% in Tuesday-Wednesday
The public is divided on whether
President Trump’s attitude toward Russia does (48%) or does not (46%) present a
threat to national security. This opinion shifted dramatically, though, over
the course of interviewing for this poll, going from 43% on Saturday-Monday who
felt Trump’s approach to Russia poses a national security threat, to 52% who
felt this way on Tuesday-Wednesday.
“Most Americans have been
ambivalent about Trump’s overt admiration for Russia, even after he opened the
White House to Russian officials who may have helped interfere in our election.
That ambivalence may be evaporating now that the public found out what he
shared with them, whether it was by design or by accident,” said Murray.
The Monmouth University Poll added additional questions to the poll on
Tuesday and Wednesday, after it was revealed that Trump shared intelligence
information with Russian officials during a White House visit last week. Most
Americans (73%) have heard about this incident and 37% are aware of published
reports that the information was obtained from Israel.
Americans tend to disagree with
national security adviser H.R. McMaster’s view that what Trump shared in that
meeting was “wholly appropriate.” In fact, 42% say it was definitely not
appropriate and 22% say it was probably not appropriate. Only 1-in-4 feel the
information Trump shared with Russia was definitely (9%) or probably (17%)
Over half (53%) say that this news
is likely to hurt the U.S. relationship with Israel either a lot (33%) or a
little (20%). Another 31% believe it will have no impact on U.S.-Israeli
relations and 6% think it will actually help the relationship. Nearly
two-thirds (64%) say that our other allies in the world will now be less
willing to share sensitive intelligence information with the U.S. government
because of this incident. Another 29% feel it will have no impact and 5% think
it will actually make other countries more willing to share intelligence with
On the FBI director’s firing, more
Americans disapprove (50%) than approve (36%) of the president’s action. Only
20% of the public buys the original administration line that Comey’s
mishandling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation was the main reason for
his dismissal. An overwhelming 72% say that other factors were more important,
a view shared by majorities of Democrats (86%), independents (72%), and
Republicans (53%) alike.
In fact, nearly 6-in-10 Americans
think it is either very (40%) or somewhat (19%) likely that Comey was fired in
order to slow down or stop the FBI investigation into Russian interference in
the 2016 election and possible links with the Trump campaign. Only 1-in-4 (24%)
support ending this investigation, while 73% say it should continue. More than
4-in-10 say the probe should be transferred to an independent investigator
alone (40%) or in partnership with the FBI (4%), while 26% say the Russia
investigation should be left entirely with the FBI. Support for an independent
investigator increased from 41% on Saturday-Monday to 49% on Tuesday-Wednesday.
Last night’s news about the appointment of a special counsel broke too late to
significantly impact these results.
“It’s getting very difficult to
write topical poll questions when the lead stories are displaced in a matter of
hours. We could write an entirely new survey script every day,” said Murray.
RESULTS BY DAY OVER POLLING PERIOD
Trump job rating?
Comey firing opinion?
Appoint independent investigator on Russia?
Concerned Trump too friendly to Russia?
Trump re Russia national security threat?
The Monmouth University Poll
was conducted by telephone from May 13 to 17, 2017 with 1,002 adults in the
United States, although no interviews were conducted on Sunday May 14.
The results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent.
The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West
Long Branch, NJ.
QUESTIONS AND RESULTS
(* Some columns may not add to 100% due
you approve or disapprove of the job Donald Trump is doing as president?
[Q2-4 held for
you approve or disapprove of Donald Trump’s decision to fire FBI director James
3% (VOL) Haven’t heard
11% (VOL) Don’t know
stated reason for firing Comey was his mishandling of the Hillary Clinton email
investigation. Do you think this really is the main reason Comey was fired or
were other factors more important?
20% Main reason Comey was fired
72% Other factors more important
8% (VOL) Don’t know
7. Trump said he had already decided to fire Comey
even before he received a recommendation from the Justice Department. Does that
make you more likely or less likely to think that other factors besides the
Clinton investigation were behind Comey’s dismissal, or doesn’t it change your
33% More likely
4% Less likely
59% Doesn’t change opinion
3% (VOL) Don’t know
you heard that the FBI has been conducting an investigation into Russian
interference in the 2016 election and possible links with the Trump campaign,
or haven’t you heard about this?
11% Not heard
0% (VOL) Don’t know
likely do you think it is that James Comey was fired in order to slow down or
stop that investigation – is this very likely, somewhat likely, not too likely,
or not at all likely?
40% Very likely
19% Somewhat likely
10% Not too likely
27% Not at all likely
4% (VOL) Don’t know
the Russia investigation continue or should it end?
an independent investigator be appointed to take over the investigation or
should the investigation remain with the FBI?
40% Independent investigator
26% Remain with FBI
4% (VOL) Both
3% (VOL) Don’t know who
24% End investigation (Q10)
3% Don’t know about
you concerned or not concerned that Donald Trump may be too friendly toward
Russia? [If CONCERNED: Are you concerned a lot or a little?]
39% Concerned, a lot
12% Concerned, a little
45% Not concerned
you think Trump’s attitude toward Russia does or does not present a national
security threat to the U.S.?
46% Does not
7% (VOL) Don’t know
QUESTIONS X13A-E WERE ONLY ASKED ON 5/16 AND 5/17;
you heard that President Trump shared intelligence information with the Russian
ambassador and foreign minister when they visited the White House last week, or
have you not heard about this? [If HEARD: Have you heard a
lot or just a little?]
Heard, a lot
Heard, a little
you heard the reports that this information was gathered by the Israeli
intelligence services, or have you not heard this?
Not heard about Russia incident (Q14)
to reports, Israel shared classified terrorism information with the U.S. and
the president decided to pass that information on to the Russians. In your
opinion, were Donald Trump’s actions definitely appropriate, probably
appropriate, probably not appropriate, or definitely not appropriate?
Probably not appropriate
Definitely not appropriate
(VOL) Don’t know
you think this situation will help or hurt our relationship with Israel, or
will it have no impact? PROBE: Will
it [help/hurt] a lot or just a little?
3% Help a lot
3% Help a little
33% Hurt a lot
20% Hurt a little
31% No impact
10% (VOL) Don’t know
X13E. After hearing
these reports do you think our other allies will be more willing or less
willing to share sensitive intelligence information with the U.S. government,
or will there be no impact on their willingness to share intelligence?
64% Less willing
29% No impact
for future release.]
University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University
Polling Institute from May 13 to 17, 2017 with a national random sample of 1,002
adults age 18 and older, in English. This includes 501 contacted by a live
interviewer on a landline telephone and 501 contacted by a live interviewer on
a cell phone. Telephone numbers were selected through random digit dialing
and landline respondents were selected with a modified Troldahl-Carter youngest
adult household screen. Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey
design, data weighting and analysis. Final sample is weighted for region, age,
education, gender and race based on US Census information. Data collection
support provided by Braun Research (field) and SSI (RDD sample). For
results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error
attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 3.1 percentage
points (unadjusted for sample design). Sampling error can be larger for
sub-groups (see table below). In addition to sampling error, one should
bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting
surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.
Click on pdf file
link below for full methodology and results by key demographic groups.