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.
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.