Majorities of U.S. voters believe that U.S. intelligence agencies have their own political agenda and are influencing the news media to advance it - and many appear to be okay with that - a new Rasmussen Reports survey reveals.
A 51% majority of voters now say Intel agencies “have their own political agenda,” up from 45% in 2018, while just while 36% think the agencies generally perform impartially.
Two-thirds (65%) believe it’s likely that Intel agencies are “influencing news media coverage of political issues,” including 38% who call it “very likely.” Majorities of every political bent (77% of Republicans, 53% of Democrats and 65% of “Other”) think it’s at least somewhat likely that Intel agencies are swaying political news.
Only one in four (28%) think Intel agencies probably aren’t influencing political news, including just 9% who consider it “not at all likely.”
The belief that Intel agencies are manipulating the news to advance a political agenda doesn’t seem to hurt the impression of the CIA held by many voters, however.
About half of those with either a “very favorable” (47%) or a “somewhat favorable” (50%) impression of the CIA say it’s at least somewhat likely the Intel community is influencing political news. Likewise, more than half (57%) of those who say it’s “somewhat likely” have a favorable view of CIA, nonetheless. Among those who think it’s “very likely,” however, just one in four (23%) have a positive view of the CIA.
Taken together, 49% of all voters have a favorable “impression of the CIA,” while 41% have an unfavorable one.
Sixty-six percent (66%) of Republicans, 36% of Democrats and 52% of unaffiliated voters think U.S. intelligence agencies have their own political agenda. Conversely, 53% of Democrats, 24% of Republicans and 30% of unaffiliated voters believe the agencies generally perform impartially.
Still, the belief that Intel agencies have an agenda doesn’t stop more than a quarter (28%) from having a positive impression of the CIA.
Democrat voters and supporters of Democrat President Joe Biden are, by far, the most likely to think highly of the CIA. Sixty-seven percent (67%) of Democrats, but only 34% of Republicans and 44% of unaffiliated voters, have a favorable opinion of the CIA.
Among voters who “strongly approve” of Biden’s job performance as president, 84% have a favorable opinion of the CIA. Of voters who “strongly disapprove” of Biden’s performance, however, fewer than one in six (15%) view the CIA well.
Rasmussen’s national survey of U.S. likely voters was conducted September 27-28, 2023.