Political News

Poll: Republicans' ratings of FBI fall as other government agencies rise

Posted January 2, 2018 12:33 p.m. EST

— Republicans' reviews for a slew of government agencies have improved as Donald Trump's administration puts its stamp on the federal bureaucracy, according to a new poll from Gallup, but there's one agency whose ratings have shifted in the opposite direction among the President's partisans: The FBI.

While 62% of Republicans gave the FBI "excellent" or "good" marks in a 2014 survey from Gallup, just 49% say the same now. The agency is the only one of 13 tested whose ratings among Republicans have worsened compared with 2014.

Trump has actively criticized the FBI throughout his time in office, from his firing of agency head James Comey in May through tweets in late December (sent after the completion of the Gallup poll) criticizing the agency's retiring deputy director over donations to his Democratic wife's campaign for state senate in Virginia.

Adding to the President's criticism, Republicans on Capitol Hill have raised doubts about the fairness of both the agency's treatment of Hillary Clinton during the investigation into her use of a private server for State Department emails and the investigation into Russian interference in 2016's election, which is led by special counsel Robert Mueller, himself a former FBI director.

Among Democrats, the poll finds ratings for the FBI have actually improved over the same time frame: 60% said it was doing a good job in 2014, 69% say the same now.

Republicans' views on several agencies in Gallup's polling have improved markedly under Trump: Ratings for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have risen 33 points; the Federal Emergency Management Agency is up 28 points; up 27 points for the Secret Service; and 26 points for the Department of Homeland Security. Democrats' ratings for most of the agencies tested have not changed enough to be significant, with exceptions for the Secret Service (+13), NASA (+11) and the CIA (+10) in addition to the shift on the FBI.

Overall, the poll finds the FBI ranks near the top of the 13 tested agencies, with 58% rating the job it is doing as "excellent" or "good," behind just four other agencies -- the US Postal Service (74% excellent or good), the CDC (66%), the Secret Service (63%) and Homeland Security (59%). The CIA (57%), NASA (56%) and FEMA (55%) also garner majority-positive reviews, ranking just behind the FBI's numbers.

The improved ratings for individual government agencies come even as overall impressions of the government have remained negative. A CNN poll conducted by SSRS in December found that just 28% of Americans were satisfied with the way the nation is being governed, with 68% reporting being dissatisfied. There, too, however, Republicans views have become sharply more positive under Trump (66% satisfied) than they were under President Barack Obama, a Democrat (10%).

The Gallup poll on government agencies was conducted by telephone from December 18-19 among a random national sample of 1,011 adults. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.