Scott Pruitt Is Embroiled In More Than A Dozen Scandals. Most Of America Has Barely Noticed.

Half of the public doesn't have an opinion on the embattled EPA administrator.
Joshua Roberts / Reuters

Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, is facing a litany of ethical issues, from his housing arrangement in Washington and expensive travel habits to the unapproved raises he’s given to staff.

None of those controversies, however, have broken through to a majority of the public, a new HuffPost/YouGov survey finds.

Half of the Americans polled say they don’t have an opinion on Pruitt’s job performance, and 54 percent that they’re not sure whether or not he’s done anything wrong. More than 60 percent say they aren’t sure whether or not Trump should fire him.

The public is often less than fully tuned in to issues regarding Trump administration personnel, but those numbers are even higher than usual. By comparison, a relatively modest 42 percent of Americans were undecided about Steve Bannon’s ouster as chief strategist from the White House, and 48 percent weren’t sure whether the president should fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Overall, just under 60 percent of Americans say they’ve heard something in the news recently about Pruitt, and just 20 percent that they’ve heard a lot. And they say, 44 percent to 18 percent, that they’ve heard more about the Trump campaign’s relationship with Russia than about the Pruitt story, with the rest unsure or saying they haven’t heard much about either.

To the extent that the public does have an opinion on Pruitt, it leans negative. Americans are about four times as likely to believe that Pruitt has done something wrong (37 percent) as to believe that he has not (9 percent); 31 percent disapprove of his job performance, while only 18 percent approve. By a considerably smaller margin, 22 percent to 16 percent, they say Trump should fire him from his job at the EPA.

Opinions are largely divided along political lines. Six in 10 voters who supported Hillary Clinton in the last presidential election say that Pruitt did something wrong, with just above half saying his actions also reflect badly on Trump. Just a third of Trump voters, by contrast, say Pruitt has done anything wrong, and just 7 percent that his behavior casts an unflattering reflection on the president. A two-thirds majority of non-voters say they’re unsure about the EPA administrator’s actions.

About 40 percent of the public says they believe the Trump administration has seen more scandals than past presidents, while 16 percent say it’s seen fewer, and 24 percent that it’s faced about the usual number of scandals. More than eight in 10 Clinton voters say that Trump’s White House has been unusually scandal-prone, while just about a third of non-voters and 13 percent of Trump voters say the same.

Use the widget below to further explore the results of the HuffPost/YouGov survey, using the menu at the top to select survey questions and the buttons at the bottom to filter the data by subgroups:

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted April 5-6 among U.S. adults using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.

HuffPost has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. More details on the polls’ methodology are available here.

Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some, but not all, potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.

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