New polling indicates that nearly half of Americans are skeptical of the U.S. intelligence community's consensus that Russian President Vladimir Putin's government had deliberately interfered in the 2016 election to help President-elect Donald Trump. Nearly a third are certain that the election was hacked while a quarter have no opinion.
On Dec. 20, a new survey conducted by Morning Consult found that 46 percent of respondents agree with President-elect Trump's dismissal of the intelligence community's assessment.
Many of these respondents share the view that it is difficult to determine who hacked the Democratic Party and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's campaign and that the intelligence community has no credibility because of their previously wrong assessment that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.
Trump had swiftly blasted the CIA and other intelligence groups for holding the assessment that Russia had hacked into his opponent's campaign and the Democratic Party and then leaked the unflattering data that they had allegedly stolen in order to help him win the election.
"These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction," Trump asserted in a statement. The president-elect has requested for investigations into the matter to end and for the country to move on with his incoming administration, according to The Washington Post.
Meanwhile, 29 percent of survey respondents said they believed with near certainty that Russia had interfered in the election, agreeing with the view that the U.S. intelligence community was absolutely capable of determining who had hacked these organizations and that the matter deserved further scrutiny.
That is a view held by the chairman of the Senate armed services committee, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona. On Dec. 18, McCain and three other high-ranking lawmakers signed a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, urging him to create a select committee to investigate the alleged Russian hacks into the election.
"Recent reports of Russian interference in our election should alarm every American," the letter stated, according to The New York Times. The same group has previously urged for the controversy to not "become a partisan issue."
It would appear that the matter is already becoming infected with partisanship in the public's eye. Among survey respondents, 63 percent of self-identifying Republicans agreed with Trump's take on the matter while only 28 percent of self-identifying Democrats agreed.
The poll also found that respondents were dramatically split on whether they trust lawmakers in Congress, President-elect Trump and the media for their foreign intelligence information. Ironically, the most trusted sources on the matter were the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the FBI, which all agree that Russia did indeed hack the election.