National Security

Americans’ ratings of FBI, CIA tick up after sharp drops: Gallup

FBI raids Mar-A-Lago
AP Photo/Terry Renna
Armed Secret Service agents stand outside an entrance to former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, late Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, in Palm Beach, Fla. Trump said in a lengthy statement that the FBI was conducting a search of his Mar-a-Lago estate and asserted that agents had broken open a safe.

About half of Americans rated the FBI and CIA as doing good or excellent jobs, a partial recovery after their ratings fell sharply during the two prior years, according to a Gallup poll released on Wednesday.

Fifty-two percent of Americans gave a positive job rating to the CIA, compared to 41 percent last year. Exactly half of respondents gave the FBI a positive rating, compared to 44 percent previously.

But the FBI’s rating diverges sharply among partisan groups. The pollster recorded a 50-point gap, which surpasses those of the 10 other government agencies surveyed. 

Seventy-nine percent of Democrats say the FBI is doing a good or excellent job, while only 29 percent of Republicans agreed.

The poll comes in the weeks after the FBI executed a search warrant at former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in connection with a federal investigation into his handling of documents following his presidency. 

The search was met with intense criticism from many in the GOP, who believe the investigation is politically motivated to hurt Trump. 

Republicans have also expressed resentment after the bureau’s investigation into alleged ties between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Russian government as well as a sprawling investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot that has led to the arrests of hundreds of defendants.

Gallup’s 2021 poll found the lowest job approval rating of the FBI in at least 19 years. The CIA’s rating that year was the second-lowest recorded.

The low point for the CIA — in 2013 — came after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked classified information about U.S. government surveillance programs and fled the country.

Gallup indicated Republicans and Democrats both improved their rating for the CIA this year, recording increases of 13 points and 14 points, respectively. 

But the FBI’s recent gains almost entirely came from Democrats’ improved perceptions, while independents and Republicans’ views did not change meaningfully.

The poll was conducted from Sept. 1 to Sept. 16 through telephone interviews with 812 U.S. adults. The margin of error is 4 percentage points.

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