Congressional Oversight Survey Findings
- Americans are looking for more oversight of the Trump administration. They believe that the administration is unusually corrupt and has numerous serious ethical issues, and that Congress hasn’t done a good enough job in its role of holding the administration to account.
- Oversight should be bipartisan. Americans aren’t looking to just one party for oversight – they don’t believe it should be only the Democrats. Many believe that Republicans haven’t done enough because they are interested in protecting the administration. And overall, Americans want to see the parties cooperate on providing oversight.
- Investigate issues that affect regular people. While Americans support investigating all the individual issues with the Trump administration asked about here, including those about perks and self-enrichment, the most powerful issues are those that tie into hurting or abusing regular taxpayers.
Corruption in the Trump Administration
Americans believe that the Trump administration is unusually corrupt – even some Republicans believe so
And they believe that cover-ups, abuse of taxpayer dollars, and self- enrichment are the most serious problems in the Trump administration
Americans believe that lying to cover up wrongdoing is the highest priority for Congress to investigate
Congressional Oversight of the Trump Administration
Americans believe it is Congress’s responsibility to conduct oversight of the administration, and see it is failing at that job
And they believe ethical lapses in the administration are getting too little attention, and want them prioritized by Congress
Majorities of all political stripes believe that oversight needs to be a bipartisan responsibility
- Americans believe there is a real corruption problem in the Trump administration. The public believes that corruption in the administration is serious, more pervasive than in past administrations, and receiving too little attention from Congress. In fact, Americans believe that bad actors in the administration are deliberately taking advantage of lax Congressional oversight in order to abuse their power.
- Americans believe Congress is failing in its oversight responsibility, and that oversight requires a concerted bipartisan effort. While Democrats are more trusted than Republicans for oversight on the administration, neither party is overwhelmingly trusted on its own. Americans believe that it is the responsibility of both parties to put politics aside and work together to hold the administration accountable.
- Attitudes toward the administration tend to line up with how Americans feel about Trump as an individual. This leads to a clear political polarization in how the public views issues of oversight and accountability, with Trump supporters more resistant to Congressional investigation of the administration. Trump supporters are far less likely to acknowledge corruption problems in the administration than GOP- leaning audiences who don’t like Trump personally. Nonetheless, when presented with specific areas of possible investigation, broad majorities believe that Congress should look into them.
- The most important issues to investigate are those that have caused real harm to the public. When forced to rank the most important topics for Congress to investigate, immigrant family separation rises to the top. The next tier of priorities includes Ryan Zinke’s waste of taxpayer dollars on personal perks, Betsy DeVos’s attempts to block investigations into student loan servicers, the administration’s handling of the Hurricane Maria response in Puerto Rico, Elaine Chao serving on Wells Fargo’s board while the company was defrauding customers, and Mick Mulvaney trying to block his donors in the payday lending industry from new consumer protection regulations.
While majorities support Congress investigating allegations of rewarding donors and business associates, Americans are less likely to prioritize investigating personal perks or self-enrichment when that behavior doesn’t involve the waste of taxpayer resources or have a clear tie to a predatory industry.
Global Strategy Group and GBA Strategies conducted an online survey of 1,011 registered voters nationwide from September 26th to 30th, 2018.
Sub-groups of focus include:
- Dem. partisans: Self-identified Democrats (46% of sample)
- Independents: Self-identified independents (16% of sample)
- Trump supporters: Voted for Trump in 2016 (41% of sample)
- Non-Trump GOP: Self-identified Republicans unfavorable toward Trump (7% of sample)
Global Strategy Group is a research and public affairs firm based in New York, with offices throughout the country. GBA Strategies, based in Washington, D.C., offers expertise in public opinion research and strategic consulting.