Pollster says Sessions could be 'damaged goods' after Trump firing

Pollster Rob Griffin said on Monday that former Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsInterior chief Zinke to leave administration Trump, Christie met to discuss chief of staff job: report Chief justice of California Supreme Court leaves GOP over Kavanaugh confirmation MORE could be "damaged goods" with the Republican Party after President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden, Sanders lead field in Iowa poll The Memo: Cohen fans flames around Trump Memo Comey used to brief Trump on dossier released: report MORE forced him out last week, but "his stock" may not be entirely gone.

"He might become damaged goods as a result of what happens with the Trump administration, but even among Republicans, I think from your poll it's important to point this out, 40 percent think the president did this to have someone oversee the [Robert] Mueller investigation that would be more loyal to him," Griffin, research director at the Public Religion Research Institute, told Hill.TV's Joe Concha on "What America's Thinking." 

Griffin was referring to the latest American Barometer survey, which found that 39 percent of Republicans said Trump fired Sessions in order to get a loyal attorney general to oversee Mueller's investigation, while 61 percent said the president fired Sessions because he was an ineffective attorney general. 

"So even among Republicans, I don't think his stock is completely sort of gone. The perception of this at least so far is that Trump is doing this for his own reasons," he said. 

The poll comes less than a week after Trump asked Sessions to resign and appointed Matthew Whitaker, his former chief of staff, as acting attorney general. 

Trump has publicly lashed out at and insulted Sessions ever since the former Alabama senator recused himself from the federal investigation into Russian election meddling. 

Sessions has long been seen as a key champion of conservative values and is still popular with leaders on the right, but a Gallup poll released in September, amid Trump's attacks on the attorney general, found that he had low favorability ratings among GOP voters.

Thirty-three percent of Republicans said they had a favorable opinion of Sessions, while 46 percent said unfavorable, according to the survey. 

— Julia Manchester