How Voters View Comey Firing: Last week’s Wall Street Journal column broke down the political ramifications of President Donald Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey. While the president had the right to dismiss the FBI director, polling immediately after the firing confirms that public confidence in his decision is low. A May 13, 2017 NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found only 29% approve of Mr. Trump’s decision. Thirty-eight percent disapprove and 32% do not know enough to have an opinion.
By political party breakdown, 58% of Republicans approve of Mr. Trump’s decision and only 8% disapprove and 33% of Republicans do not know enough to have an opinion. Only 9% of Democrats approve of Mr. Trump’s decision while 66% disapprove and 24% say they do not know enough to have an opinion. While the partisan divide is to be expected, the Trump administration should be concerned that only 21% of Independents approve of Mr. Trump’s decision to oust the FBI director, while 36% disapprove and 42% do not know enough to have an opinion.
Mr. Trump must reassure supporters – both his diehard base as well as wavering, reluctant backers – that while his execution may not have been great, he did the right thing for good reason. The best way to do this is to name a new FBI director whom Americans see as an excellent choice, despite Democratic attacks that would come even if a combination Elliot Ness/Batman/Superman were appointed. Otherwise, Mr. President risks allowing this firing to permanently affect confidence in his presidency.