New Hampshire Voters Show Very Different Views of Two Former FBI Directors

May 1, 2018

By Chip Underhill

Spring Poll of Saint Anselm College Survey Center Shows “Fair and impartial” for Robert Mueller, and “Personal Agenda” for James Comey

•    NH Political Environment Improves Slightly for Republicans
•    Slight Rise for Trump Approval but also Republicans saying “On the Wrong Track”
•    Sununu and Kuster Gain in Favorability Despite “Give New Person a Chance”
•    Democrats and Republicans Extremely Likely to Vote in November 

Registered New Hampshire voters display fundamentally different opinions of Robert Mueller and James Comey, two former directors of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in the just-released spring poll of the Saint Anselm College Survey Center by the New Hampshire Institute of Politics (NHIOP)

The spring poll asked voters if Mueller, Special Counsel investigating alleged Russian interference with the 2016 election, has been “fair and impartial.” Voters were also asked if Comey, fired from the director post by President Trump, published his recent book to “shed light on important matters concerning the Trump administration or to further his own personal agenda.”

Over 54% of all voters surveyed – Republicans, Democrats and Independents – say Mueller has been fair (including 87% of Democrats, 26% of Republicans, and 55% of Independents).

For Comey, nearly 50% of all voters say his book was published to further a personal agenda (including almost 84% Republicans, 20% Democrats, and 47% Independents).

Spring 2018 Survey Results (PDF/104KB)

“Voters have very different impressions of the two former FBI directors who have attracted President Trump’s ire,” said Neil Levesque, Executive Director of the NHIOP. “More broadly, however, the state’s political environment has improved somewhat for Republicans since our previous survey in February.”

President Trump recorded modest gains in popularity among Republicans, Democrats and Independents, however the poll indicates the Chief Executive still has an 18-point net negative favorability rating (40% favorable and 58% unfavorable, versus the winter results of nearly 36% favorable and 62% unfavorable). Trump’s favorability has risen despite an increase of nearly five points among Republicans who think the country is “on the wrong track.”

N.H. Governor Chris Sununu realized an eight-point increase in job approval, rising from 57% to 65%, and with a decrease in disapproval from over 31% to 27%. Yet, while 51% of all voters surveyed say Sununu “deserves re-election,” 36% would like to “give a new person a chance.”

In Congressional races, former Executive Councilor Chris Pappas is the only declared candidate who has significant name recognition for the First District seat of outgoing Carol Shea-Porter: 67% whereas all other CD-1 candidates average 27.7%. Second District incumbent Ann McLane Kuster raised her net positive favorability rating nearly 12 points to almost 45%. Still, while 32% said Kuster “deserves reelection,” 45% say “give the new person a chance.” 

Voter intensity is extremely high for the fall mid-term election with over 72% of all those surveyed maintaining they are “extremely likely” to vote (74% Republicans, 77% Democrats, and 66% Independents).

The spring poll of Saint Anselm College Survey Center at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics was conducted from April 21 - April 25, 2018 by exclusive direct-dial of validated, registered N.H. voters. 

About the New Hampshire Institute of Politics
The mission of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics (NHIOP) is to educate, engage and empower citizens to participate in the civic and political life of their local, national and global communities by providing a nonpartisan forum for discussion and debate on all aspects of the American political process. The NHIOP is a must-stop for all major declared candidates for the nation’s highest office. In 2016, The NHIOP hosted the only New Hampshire-based debates of Presidential candidates in both the Republicans and Democratic parties, prior to the state’s first-in-the-national primary election.

About Saint Anselm College
Founded in 1889, is a nationally-ranked four-year liberal arts college providing a 21st century education in the Catholic, Benedictine tradition. Located in the greater Boston region in southern New Hampshire, Saint Anselm College is well-known for its strong liberal arts curriculum, the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, commitment to inclusiveness, a highly successful nursing program, and a legacy of community service.