Poll: ‘Clear majority’ of voters believe Obama’s executive privilege decision over-reaching

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter
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A new poll released Monday by The Hill shows a “clear majority” of likely voters nationwide believe that President Barack Obama is over-reaching with his assertion of executive privilege over Operation Fast and Furious documents.

Overall, The Hill said 56 percent of likely voters nationwide disapproved of Obama’s assertion of executive privilege in this case, while 29 percent approved.

A total of 61 percent of independents disapproved of Obama’s actions, while only 25 percent approved. Seventy-eight percent of Republicans disapproved of Obama’s executive privilege move, as did 28 percent of Democrats and 30 percent of liberals.

tdObama asserted the executive privilege last Wednesday on Attorney General Eric Holder’s behalf to allow him to continue withholding documents related to the Fast and Furious scandal. Obama’s move came just minutes before House oversight committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa began official proceedings to hold Holder in contempt of Congress. Issa’s committee voted 23-17 in favor of holding Holder in contempt, moving the resolution out of the oversight committee into the full House of Representatives. The House is expected to vote later this week to hold Holder in contempt if he continues to not cooperate with the congressional Fast and Furious subpoena.

There are at least some internal documents — like an email that may end up becoming the Fast and Furious smoking gun — that Holder himself has said Obama’s assertion of executive privilege won’t cover.

That said, public opinion appears to be taking a turn for the worst for Holder and Obama on this scandal. This poll from The Hill comes on the heels of a recent Rasmussen Reports poll in which a plurality of likely voters nationwide think Holder should resign. Forty percent of likely-to-vote Americans want Holder to resign as a result of this scandal, whereas only 27 percent want him to stay in office. Thirty-three percent of Americans aren’t sure.

When it comes to self-identified Democrats, 21 percent want Holder gone, 33 percent aren’t sure and 45 percent want Holder to stay.

Pollster Scott Rasmussen, whose firm conducted that poll, said that while a “significant number” of Democratic likely voters want Holder to resign, the biggest takeaway from the poll is how few Americans — especially Democrats — are following the issue enough to care. Only about 50 percent of likely voters say they’ve followed the Fast and Furious saga “very closely” or “somewhat closely.” With Democrats, that figure drops to 43 percent, whereas with Republicans it jumps to 60 percent.

“The biggest factor about the numbers is how Republicans are following it and conservatives are following it and hardly anybody else is,” Rasmussen told The Daily Caller in a phone interview. “The danger to Holder and the administration is if this story really does move beyond that particular audience.”

“If the numbers grow with the people who learn about it and it becomes a bigger discussion, I think there’s some real potential downside [for the Obama administration],” Rasmussen said.

On top of the recent polling data that shows the American people are unhappy with Obama or Holder on this issue, newspapers around the country have started using their editorial boards to call for the release of Fast and Furious documents. According to a blog post on Speaker of the House John Boehner’s website, the Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Bloomberg, Boston Herald, Dallas Morning News, Denver Post, Arizona Republic, Detroit News, Des Moines Register, Newsday, Investor’s Business Daily, Tampa Bay Times, St. Louis Dispatch and more have all called on Holder and Obama to release the documents and drop the executive privilege claims.

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