DENVER – Weeks of scandals dogging the Obama administration are beginning to take a toll, with voters now expressing more trust in Republicans to handle issues related to ethics and corruption than Democrats, according to a recent public opinion survey from Rasmussen Reports.
When asked which political party they trust more to handle the issue of government ethics and corruption, 39 percent of respondents said they trusted Republicans, compared to 37 percent who said they trust Democrats. Another 24 percent said they were not sure.
The survey results, which reveal a significant shift in public opinion on the issue of ethics, come amid lingering voter concerns about the Obama administration’s handling of last year’s terrorist attacks on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya that left four Americans dead, IRS harassment of conservative non-profit groups, and the seizure of journalists phone records by the Department of Justice.
The poll findings represent “the highest level of confidence in Republicans and the lowest level for Democrats since October,” according to Rasmussen Reports. “It’s also the smallest gap between the two parties in nearly a year.”
The surge in support for Republicans extends to political independents, who now trust Republicans more than Democrats to handle government ethics and corruption by a wide 40 percent to 17 percent margin.
But survey results also expose a gender gap, with men trusting Republicans over Democrats by ten points (42 to 32 percent), while women gave Democrats a slight edge (41 to 36 percent).
The poll also shows a wide divide between respondents of different races.
Nearly half of white respondents, 46 percent, say they trust Republicans more on the issue of ethics, while just 28 percent backed Democrats. But an overwhelming number of black respondents, 87 percent, said they trust Democrats more to handle government ethics and corruption, compared to just 2 percent who said they trust the GOP. Among respondents who did not identify themselves as either black or white, Democrats enjoyed a 38 percent to 31 percent advantage over Republicans.
Age too was also a factor, with those between 18 and 39 years of age more likely to trust Democrats over Republicans (42 percent to 29 percent), while the GOP got higher marks than Democrats from those between 40 and 64 years old (42 percent to 35 percent) and voters over 65 (48 percent to 32 percent).
The Rasmussen Reports national poll surveyed 1,000 likely voters between May 19 and May 20, and has a margin of error of + / – 3 percentage points.