CNN Poll: Was politics behind Holder contempt vote?
July 9th, 2012
09:11 AM ET
2 years ago

CNN Poll: Was politics behind Holder contempt vote?

Washington (CNN) – Most Americans approve of the decision by the House of Representatives to censure Attorney General Eric Holder, but a new national poll also indicates that a majority of the public thinks that House Republicans are investigating Holder to gain political advantage.

According to a CNN/ORC International survey released Monday morning, 53% of people questioned say they approve of the House vote a week and a half ago to hold the attorney general in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over documents related to a controversial program called Operation Fast and Furious, with one in three saying they disapprove of the move and 13% unsure.

See full results (PDF)

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Nearly three-quarters of Republicans approve of the move, as do a majority of independent voters, while a plurality of Democrats oppose the vote.

House Democrats say that the GOP is really just trying to gain political advantage, and 61% of the public appears to buy that argument as well, with 34% saying that House Republicans had real ethical concerns about the way the program was handled.

Fast and Furious, a discredited gun-running operation that was run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, has become a sharp point of contention between Democrats and Republicans. President Barack Obama has asserted executive privilege in the case, and Holder will not face criminal prosecution.

Nearly seven in 10 say the Obama administration should answer all questions, with 27% agreeing with the move to invoke executive privilege.

"Public opinion is identical to what it was when the shoe was on the other foot - in 2007, when House Democrats were investigating the dismissal of eight U.S. attorneys and the administration of Republican President George W. Bush was claiming executive privilege, Americans felt that the Republicans should answer all questions and that the Democrats were just trying to gain political advantage," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

According to the survey, roughly three in 10 Americans have an unfavorable view of Holder; only one in four have a positive view of him and 44% are unsure how they feel about the attorney general.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International from June 28-July 1, with 1,517 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Frank

    The poll results reflect the deception behind the entire Fast & Furious program's warping by the GOP and Fox News. The recent heavily researched article in Fortune magazine tells the truth about the program, and the Arizona state prosecutors who refused to indict gun runners exporting arms to Mexico. There are 20,000 illegal guns exported to Mexico each and every month thanks to lax gun laws and the NRA. Nothing to do with the Attorney General, the ATF or Fast & Furious.

    July 9, 2012 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  2. demwit

    Why didn't Keating Holland ask America if they approve of the job Holder is doing?

    July 9, 2012 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  3. oldoc

    This whole mess started with the unfortunate death of ONE officer who's family decided that it was a perfect time to upset the Washington/DEM applecart. Of course this was a politicl debacle. Plans go awry sometimes and someone gets hurt or killed but this was a lynch party!

    July 9, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  4. rla

    Yea- The people are more than fed up with this administration and their charade ! Illegal is illegal, spending more than you make is stupid and a cover up is a cover up!!!! Just another nail in the democratic coffin

    July 9, 2012 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  5. Al-NY,NY

    political....well duh. "Focus like a laser beam on jobs..." yeah right

    July 9, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  6. Rudy NYC

    Nearly seven in 10 say the Obama administration should answer all questions, with 27% agreeing with the move to invoke executive privilege.
    ---------------------–
    I guess seven in 10 didn't hear Holder being grilled about other unrelated matters like the ongoing suit in Florida over their voter purge, and ongoing litigation concerning voter ID laws in various states.

    I guess seven in 10 didn't hear Rep. Issa state that he believes that Holder was completely unaware of the affair when he was first asked about it. Nor did they hear that Holder shut it down when he learned of it.

    I guess seven in 10 people don't know that the main whistleblower was the lone conspirarist behind the entire affair, and that he preceded the Obama administration.

    July 9, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  7. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The question for me is how many of the ATF were interviewed by the House committee? If there were none, then why weren't they? Why was there no compromise of any sort accepted by Issa that was offered by Holder (or the White House)? It seems that Issa wasn't interested in that to me. This is all political grand standing. If I were Holder, I doubt that I would show during any further request from Issa to appear.

    July 9, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  8. GROVER NORQUIST IS A ENEMY OF THE STATE/ConservaFASCISTS

    This nothing but politics and House republicans should be ashamed of themselves. Shame on Issa & shame on Boehner.

    July 9, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  9. Tailgunner Joe

    issa would embarras joe mccarthy. At least mccarthy was on a delusional political partisan witch hunt disguised as something to try to make the nation safer. issa and the ryan/romney republicon party does not even bother with a veneer of responsibility adn just plays naked politics for all to see.

    July 9, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  10. Tailgunner Joe

    And those who say this was not pure and simple poltical theater are the same small group that were still giving bush an positive approval in 2007 as he was destroying the fabric of the nation.

    July 9, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  11. WiredweirdinSF

    Could it have been the politicizing of his office, like condoning the Black Panther intimidation of voters in the 2008 election, throwing up roadblocks to voter ID, Fast and Furious, and some of the other purely political actions in which he has violated his oath of office? Not according to the dopers, he is the greatest attorney general ever to have been nominated by the most incompetent, inept, corrupt, union toady president of the United States.

    July 9, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  12. karen

    I find it interesting the everyone wants to hold Obama and Holder responsible for a program thought up during the Bush administration. The GOP has fought very hard to keep that out of the general dialogue

    July 9, 2012 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  13. CB FL

    Is a pigs hind end pork.

    July 9, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  14. Bill from GA

    Conservatives like to say: "Guns don't kill, People kill". Yet In this case, the repugs want to go after someone who may be distantly involved with a gun found near the site of the killing!

    So, you think this might be politically motivated?? What about a search for thr killer, if they are so concerned about THIS ONE person killed bya gun?

    Next week, Isa will be holding Congressional Investigations into the restaurant owner who died after Pres. Obama visited.

    July 9, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  15. Jim

    So what's the big deal?? We simply have one law enforcement arm of the Government asking another arm for information. That should be a no brainer, unless however something stinks.

    July 9, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  16. Padraig

    Polls are so easily swayed to demographics.

    July 9, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  17. hermes96

    It was political

    The only reason that the two long rifles found at the sight of Officer Brian Terry death, were in the ATF computer database, was because the gun shop owner FAXed the information to the Arizona ATF Office, listing name of the buyer..a local homeless man, who bought 3 long riles, two of which were found with Officer Terry, and the gun serial numbers...The ATF never had possession of these long rifles..never gave them to the Mexican drug cartels...was just collect the names of the buyers and the purchased gun serial numbers..they were building a case and need a great deal of evidence to satisfy the local prosecutor...

    For the GOP and Rep. Darrel Issa to ignore more serious issues and not investigate GOP members, show just shows political this is...

    Dick Cheney has never turned over his notes and documents from the G.W.Bush Energy Task Force, on which Ken Lay sat, and had several meeting with the Task Force Head..Dick Cheney..at the same time Ken Lay the CEO of ENRON Energy Traders was manipulating the National Power Grid and stealing 67 Billion from California..How many elderly died during the California Energy Crisis...

    Did you know 2,000 American guns leave Arizonia each day and are smuggled into Mexico...And what about demolition explosives..Anyone can buy demolition explosives in Arizona by showing a Arizona drivers license, and they do not even check to see it it is fake...How many pounds, or tons of demolition explosives are smuggled out of Arizona into Mexico each day...Congress should be talking to the Government of Arizona about their loose law on gun sales and demolition explosive..that is were the real danger is...

    The GOP and NRA are really upset that the local ATF agents were building a database of strawmen gun buyers..20 suspects, and over 650 guns purchased, using over $350,000.00 in cash....Since this investigation began, the local ATF office has reducted arrests for strawmen gun buyers by 90%...Darrel Issa, the GOP, and the NRA, have shutdown any Federal investingation into strawman gun buyers in Arizona..which is what they really wanted all along...

    July 9, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  18. King

    if repubs was so concerned about the border officer death and American safety, why are they blocking every effort the dems make to curve future deaths, by shouting gun rights and the NRA.

    July 9, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  19. Darla (Edmonton, Canada)

    Well, gee ... what was your first clue? It's the GOP/Tea Party ... you didn't think they'd do something so obvious?

    July 9, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  20. Dave

    People don't want stupid decisions by the government, and then leaders who work to cover it up. And I thought Obama disapproves of executive privilege?!

    July 9, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  21. rs

    Duh. Certainly it was not based on facts after hearing Mr. Issa's disconected, paranoid screed on how it was all a grand plot for Obama to take everyone's guns away. Time for drug testing in Congress?

    July 9, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  22. Jim

    Duh!! Of course this was political! All this Congress has done has been to undermine the President. I have lost all respect for the GOP. If the shoe had been on the other foot (Ala VP Dick Cheney's outing of Valerie Plame), there would ahve been no comtempt vote. But because they want our Presdient, and our Country, to fail, they have elected to do everything in their power to insure that failure.

    July 9, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  23. exrepublican

    It's all a game meant to mislead and persuade citizens into joining "there side". Does Issa and his thugs really need all those documents? They knew going in, that Holder couldn't and wouldn't turn over all documents, so they used it to make it look like he was in contempt. They totally disregarded Holders personal reputation. They knew Obama would step in to protect Holder. This is all a game! Same as the voter I.D. fiasco. We should ALL wake up and force these morons to quit the games and work on the issues that affect millions of Americans daily lives. It won't stop until WE stop them!

    July 9, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  24. rob

    " Most Americans approve of the decision by the House of Representatives to censure Attorney General Eric Holder"

    "Nearly seven in 10 say the Obama administration should answer all questions" Thats 70% who feel the Obama admin and Justice dept are hiding the truth.

    ENOUGH SAID !!!!!!!!

    July 9, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  25. rob

    @ S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    CNN won't remind you but I will. The Senior ATF officials called by the comittee pleaded the 5th amendment in the initial hearings. The reason to plead the 5th is to protect yourself from being compelled to self incrimination. Interesting isn't it.

    July 9, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |