A majority of voters say it was “inappropriate” for President Donald Trump to share highly classified information with Russian officials, according to a new poll released Friday.
And a plurality of voters — 41 percent — say Trump’s disclosure means they are “not confident at all” in the president’s ability to handle highly classified material.
Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed in a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll disapproved of the president’s decision to divulge sensitive materials to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak during an Oval Office meeting last week. Only 22 percent of those polled deemed Trump’s actions “appropriate,” while 20 percent remained undecided.
And the incident seems to have shaped opinions about how Trump handles sensitive information. While 41 percent said they were not confident in Trump’s ability with classified info, another 16 percent said they were “not too confident.”
Thirty-nine percent expressed some degree of confidence in the president’s intelligence-keeping skills, with 22 percent “very confident” and 17 percent “somewhat confident” in Trump’s abilities to handle the nation’s top secrets.
Still, voters remained largely split on whether government officials were right to leak details of Trump’s Oval Office meeting with Russian diplomats to the press: 44 percent said officials were right to pass the information on to the media and 39 percent disagreed.
The aftermath of President Trump’s meeting with Russian officials also cast doubt for voters on his ability to shield the keep the country safe from terrorism, with 52 percent either “not too confident” or “not confident at all” in his capacity to protect the country from threats.
The poll mirrors other recent surveys that show Trump’s decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey has been viewed by a plurality as inappropriate — 43 percent to 34 percent.
But the percentage who said it was inappropriate to fire the the FBI director rose substantially when voters were asked if they supported the decision in light of Trump asking Comey to halt an ongoing investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. After being told that, 50 percent then finding his actions inappropriate.
The White House has disputed reports that Trump pressured Comey to hold back on Flynn.
Trump’s approval rating, despite remaining fairly consistent in recent polling, reached its lowest mark for any POLITICO/Morning Consult poll since he entered office, with 53 percent disapproving and 41 percent approving. Trump’s opposition also was more fierce than his support, with 40 percent disapproving of him strongly compared to the 18 percent who strongly approve.
The survey also saw an uptick in public trust in the media. While more voters in April trusted Trump to tell the truth than the press — 37 percent to 29 percent — the media outpaced the president in the latest findings, 38 percent to 32 percent.
The findings also paint a less-than-flattering picture of the president’s character, with Trump earning high marks for arrogance, recklessness and unwillingness to accept his mistakes. A majority of voters, though, also described the president “patriotic.”
The POLITICO/Morning Consult poll survered 1,970 registered voters between May 16 and 18 with a margin of error of plus or minus two percent.