NEW YORK - Nearly 3 out of 4 Republicans believe the FBI and Justice Department are trying to undermine U.S. President Donald Trump, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Monday, a sharp turn for a party that has historically backed law enforcement agencies.
Overall, most of the public still believes that Trump or someone from his campaign worked with Russia to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election, allegations that Moscow and Trump have repeatedly denied.
The Feb. 3-5 poll found that Americans were sharply divided along party lines over an effort by Trump and his Republican allies to discredit a federal investigation into potential ties between his 2016 campaign and Russia.
Some 73 percent of Republicans agreed that “members of the FBI and Department of Justice are working to delegitimize President Trump through politically motivated investigations.”
The same proportion of Democrats said they believed a competing narrative that “members of the Republican Party and the White House are working to delegitimize the FBI and DOJ in the investigation of Russian tampering in the 2016 presidential election.”
The poll findings show the influence Trump wields among Republicans, who have long reserved some of their highest levels of trust for the country’s law enforcement agencies.
Nearly 84 percent of Republicans said in a January 2015 Reuters/Ipsos poll that they had a “favorable” view of the FBI. Some 55 percent of Republicans said last month they had a “great deal” of confidence in the country’s law enforcement agencies — well above the 30 percent who expressed a similar level of confidence in the Trump administration and 9 percent who said the same about Congress.
The poll showed, however, that the public did not appear to have changed its mind about the Russia investigation.
Fifty-two percent of all adults said in the latest poll that they believed Trump or someone from his campaign worked with Russia to influence the 2016 U.S. election and that it was likely “authorities will find evidence of an illegal relationship between the Trump administration and Russia.”
Those percentages have not changed since the last time the poll asked those questions in 2017.
The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online in English across the United States. It gathered responses from 2,251 adults, including 941 Democrats and 827 Republicans, and had a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of 2 percentage points for the entire sample and 4 percentage points for both the Republicans and Democrats.