Most Americans are taken aback that President Donald Trump reportedly revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador, a new HuffPost/YouGov survey finds.
A 57 percent majority of Americans say they’re bothered at least somewhat by The Washington Post’s Monday report that President Trump disclosed highly classified information to the Russian officials in a White House meeting last week, with just 29 percent bothered only a little or not at all. A plurality, 42 percent, say they’re bothered a lot by the news.
At the time the survey was taken, more than three-quarters of the respondents said they’d heard at least something about the story, although just 37 percent had heard a lot.
Views are deeply polarized, although Trump’s opponents are more united than his defenders. Ninety-three percent of Americans who voted for Hillary Clinton are at least somewhat bothered by the allegation, with 86 percent bothered “a lot.” A majority of non-voters, 56 percent, also say they’re at least somewhat bothered.
In contrast, voters who supported Trump say, 68 percent to 17 percent, that they’re largely unbothered. Most, 57 percent, say they’re not bothered at all, and just 7 percent that they’re bothered a lot by the story.
Half of all those taking the survey were told that the report came “according to recent news stories,” while half were told it was first reported by The Washington Post. Responses to the credibility of the story were overall similar in both groups.
Thirty-nine percent of those who read the vaguer language said that the assertion made about Trump was credible, 22 percent that it was not credible, and 40 percent that they didn’t know enough to say or weren’t sure. Among those who read the language naming The Washington Post, 36 percent found it credible and 21 percent not credible, with 43 percent not yet sure or haven’t heard enough.
Views of Trump’s decision to fire FBI director James Comey have hardened somewhat in the course of the past week. In the previous HuffPost/YouGov survey, the public was about evenly split on that decision, with 33 percent saying he made the right choice, 34 percent the wrong choice, and 33 percent undecided.
Some of those who were on the fence now feel that the decision was made in error. Americans now say by a modest 8-point margin, 40 percent to 32 percent, that Trump made the wrong decision in firing Comey, with 28 percent still unsure. Just under half believe that Comey was fired in part to disrupt the Russia investigation, a similar finding to the previous survey.
Overall, concerns about the Russia story, which had previously remained stable, seem to have risen modestly, according to a series of questions asked previously to this survey.
Half of the country now says that the Trump administration’s relationship with Russia is a legitimate issue, up from 46 percent. A 54 percent majority say that relationship between the White House and Russia is at least a somewhat serious problem, up from 48 percent.
The shift comes largely among the less politically engaged. Fifty-five percent of Americans who didn’t vote in last year’s election now see an at least somewhat serious problem, up 11 points from last week. Both this week and last, more than 90 percent of Clinton voters, but just about a tenth of Trump voters, considered the story at least a somewhat serious problem.
The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted May 15-17 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.
HuffPost has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls.You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. Data from all HuffPost/YouGov polls can be found here. More details on the polls’ methodology are available here.
Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some, but not all, potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample, rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.
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