Majority of Americans from both parties believe Comey more than Trump, CBS poll finds

A CBS News poll finds the president's approval rating has fallen to 36 percent.

June 20, 2017, 4:36 PM

— -- President Donald Trump’s approval rating has fallen to 36 percent, according to a new poll from CBS News. Americans from both parties question his response to the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and 57 percent are more inclined to believe former FBI Director James Comey than the commander-in-chief, the poll found.

The poll was conducted via landlines and cell phones from June 15 to June 18, with a random sample of 1,117 adults from around the country. The results have a margin of error of 4 percent.

This approval rating is the lowest recorded in CBS News Polls since he became president. Past CBS polling showed that Trump had a 39 percent approval rating when he took office in January and a 43 percent approval rating in April.

Only 9 percent of Democrats now approve of Trump, a number that has dropped one percentage point since Trump passed the 100-day mark in April.

The president has also lost ground in this own party: 72 percent of Republicans approve of Trump now, as compared to 83 percent at the 100-day mark, a notable eleven percent drop.

According to Gallup data, President Obama’s lowest approval rate among his own party during his eight years in office was also 72 percent, three years into his presidency in October 2011.

An ABC News/Washington Post poll about Trump’s first 100 days released in April showed a 53 percent disapproval, 42 percent approval rate.

The CBS poll found that 63 percent of Americans disapprove of how Trump has handled the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. A vast majority of Americans from both parties -- 81 percent -- think Trump should not try to stop Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, and 56 percent of respondents said they think the investigation will be impartial.

Only one out of every five Republicans believe the investigation is a critical security matter, and more than half think the investigations are a political distraction. But on the other side of the aisle, only 32 percent see the investigations as a distraction, while 27 percent see it was a serious issue, and 39 percent view it as a critical issue of national security.

When it comes to Trump’s handling of the investigation into Russian interference, 60 percent of the those polled said it does not affect their view of him, while 35 percent of Americans said they it makes them think worse of him, according to CBS. Trump's response to the investigation has a greater effect than his stance on the economy or his response to the recent Congressional shooting in Virginia.

The percentage of those polled who now believe that Russia interfered in the 2016 election increased four points, from 40 percent in March to 44 percent in June, according to CBS. Now, 31 percent of people think there was no Russian interference, down from 37 percent. 18 percent of Americans think Russia did interfere, but not in Trump’s favor, up from 10 percent in the March poll.

Nearly two-thirds of the people surveyed by CBS agree that Trump is more interested in protecting himself than protecting the U.S. from Russian interference, which only 30 percent believe he values more. This includes one-third of Republican voters who now think that Trump is prioritizing his own administration over the nation in this regard.

A majority of Americans say they believe Comey’s testimony over Trump’s statements, with 57 percent believing Comey and 31 percent believing Trump. Of those who identify as Republican, 24 percent believe Comey and 64 percent believe the president more. That credibility gap is much more pronounced among Democrats: 84 percent believe Comey and only 8 percent believe Trump. Most people polled by CBS think something improper occurred during Trump's meetings with Comey, but only a little more than one in four people think what happened was illegal.

A large majority -- 71 percent of people -- believe that Trump is criticized more than other recent presidents, but 50 percent say that criticism doesn't affect their view of him. When looking only at Republicans, 85 percent think he is critiqued more than previous presidents, and 34 percent are more likely to support him as a result. Some 65 percent of Democrats think Trump is criticized more than other recent presidents, and 44 percent believe that this makes them more likely to question him.

In the same poll, Americans were asked about their views of the Republican effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Healthcare Act, or Obamacare.

According to CBS, Congress is not doing much better in the eyes of its constituents: the majority of Americans would like more transparency about Republican efforts to replace the Affordable Healthcare Act, and hold negative views overall of the capabilities of both parties.

Overall, 73 percent of those polled -- 56 percent of Republicans and 81 percent of Democrats -- think that Senate Republicans should discuss their plan publicly as they develop the bill. Some 41 percent of Republicans think the plans should be discussed privately, compared to 18 percent of Democrats. Only 23 percent of Americans polled by CBS think they have a good understanding of what the Republican healthcare plan will do.

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