Utahns are split over whether President Donald Trump fired former-FBI Director James Comey because he wanted to kill the bureau’s investigation into Russian election tampering, or because Trump believed Comey no longer fit to run the agency, a new UtahPolicy.com poll shows.
Comey is set to testify openly before a congressional committee Thursday morning. He may later testify behind closed doors.
But for now, UPD’s pollster, Dan Jones & Associates, finds in a new survey, finished Tuesday night, that 42 percent of Utahns believe Trump fired Comey because he wouldn’t stop the investigation into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election.
While 45 percent say he fired him because Comey was not “fit to lead the FBI.”
Twelve percent didn’t have an opinion.
As with about all things Trump, Utahns break out along very partisan lines on the question.
Which could prove troublesome down the road. If further Congressional investigations – or a special counsel’s investigation – shows Trump is likely guilty of obstruction of justice over the Russia issue – an impeachable offense – will Republican Utahns take such action seriously?
Or will they just chalk it up to Trump-haters, Democrats, and the national news media?
Among Utah Republicans, 70 percent say Trump fired Comey because the FBI director was no longer fit for the job.
Only 15 percent of the GOP say it was because Comey wouldn’t stop the investigation into whether Russians were working to influence our election, and Trump campaign advisors may have been in on it.
Democrats have no doubts – 91 percent say Trump fired Comey over the Russia investigation, only 4 percent said otherwise.
Political independents also have strong opinions, 59 percent say Trump fired the FBI director over the Russia investigation, 29 percent say because he wasn’t fit.
Younger Utahns aren’t buying what Trump is selling on this issue:
Half of those (50 percent) ages 18-24 and 25-34 say Trump fired Comey over the investigation.
But the older folks disagree. Among those 65 years or older, 56 say Trump fired Comey because he was no longer fit, while 35 percent say it was over the investigation.
As you might expect, those who said they are “very conservative” politically are in the “no longer fit” camp, 86-3 percent.
But “moderates” differ – they say Trump fired the director over the Russia investigation, 58-28 percent.
The “very liberals?” No debate, 98 percent say Trump fired Comey because he wouldn’t stop the Russia investigation.
Finally, there is a clear religious split on this question. Now, is this because faithful Mormons are conservatives and Republicans, or do they tend to take the word of authoritarian figures more seriously?
Those who said they are “very active” in their Mormon faith side with the president’s excuse, 57 percent say Comey is unfit.
28 percent of “very active” Mormons say Comey was fired over the Russia investigation.
Those who were LDS, but no longer practice the religion, by a 52-44 percent say Trump fired Comey over the Russia scandal.
All other religions by a majority say Comey was ousted over Russia.
And those with no religion – 73 percent say it was over Russia, 21 percent say Comey was no longer fit.
Finally, the issue of whether Utahns are really listening to the main stream media comes into play here.
Jones asked the question AFTER Trump went on NBC News and, in so many words, admitted that Comey had to go because he was pursuing a “fake” instance of Russia and his campaign staff working together, as well as the FBI being in a mess.
Jones polled 607 adults from May 31 to June 5. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.98 percent.