Politics
Attorney General Eric Holder testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 12, 2012, before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing looking into national security leaks. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)  Attorney General Eric Holder testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 12, 2012, before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing looking into national security leaks. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)   

Poll: Americans support finding Eric Holder in contempt, want Obama to come clean

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Matthew Boyle
Investigative Reporter

New polling data shows that most Americans support the U.S. House of Representatives’ recent votes to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for his stonewalling on the Operation Fast and Furious scandal.

The CNN/ORC International survey released Monday morning shows 53 percent of American adults approve of the June 28 House votes to find Holder in criminal and civil contempt of Congress for failing to comply with a subpoena House oversight committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa served him last October. A mere 33 percent of Americans surveyed disapprove, while 13 percent have no opinion.

The polling data also shows even more Americans — 69 percent — want President Barack Obama to “drop the claim of executive privilege and answer all questions” related to Fast and Furious. Only 27 percent support Obama’s decision to assert executive privilege over Fast and Furious documents and four percent have no opinion.

Crosstab data shows, too, that Obama’s base in this election year mostly wants him to drop the executive privilege claim and answer all the questions about the scandal. A total of 47 percent of Democrats and 53 percent of liberals want Obama to come clean on Fast and Furious, while only 46 percent of Democrats and 45 percent of liberals support the president’s executive privilege assertion.

The CNN/ORC poll also found that a majority of Americans — 61 percent — think House Republicans’ efforts to investigate the Fast and Furious scandal are “mostly because they want to gain political advantage,” while 34 percent think the House GOP’s moves are because they have “real ethical concerns.”

The American people felt the same way about congressional Democrats’ investigations into the Bush administration’s Department of Justice U.S. attorneys firing scandal in 2007, according to a March 2007 Gallup/USA Today poll. Back then, 59 percent thought Democrats were mostly acting to “gain political advantage” while 30 percent thought congressional Democrats had “real ethical concerns.”

That 2007 Gallup/USA Today poll also showed a majority of the American people thought the Bush administration should drop executive privilege claims and answer questions about that scandal.

That means the public appears to view both scandals — the Obama administration’s Fast and Furious and the Bush administration’s U.S. attorney firings — the same way: those initiating and pushing the congressional investigations have obvious political motivations because they’re from the opposite political party of the president, but those politicians are asking legitimate questions.

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