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Expand chart
Data: HarrisX online survey of 2,000 U.S. adults age 18 and over, May 4-5, 2018; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Embattled EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has a low approval rating, but substantial swaths of the public don't have a strong opinion about Pruitt or know much about the ethics controversies surrounding him, according to a HarrisX Overnight Poll commissioned by Axios.

Yes, but: The poll also finds that 80 percent of Americans believe Pruitt should be fired if EPA's inspector general finds that he misused his position — even if President Trump thinks he's doing a good job. That signals that even some of Trump's backers will not stand by Pruitt if the ongoing investigations find there's fire to go along with the all the smoke at EPA.

The big picture: The poll suggests that Pruitt is not a hugely well-known or resonant figure outside the Beltway, despite generating weeks of negative press and waging an aggressive campaign to unwind environmental rules.

The EPA boss is facing a suite of Capitol Hill and internal probes over his spending and travel, hiring practices, ties to lobbyists and more.

By the numbers: The poll finds . . .

  • Pruitt is viewed favorably by 17 percent and unfavorably by 22 percent. But 30 percent hold neither view, and 32 percent have never heard of him.
  • Just 21 percent approve of the job he's doing at EPA, 25 percent disapprove, but over half the people surveyed held neither view.

Methodology: The online survey of 2,000 U.S. adults age 18 and over was conducted May 4-5, 2018. The results reflect a nationally representative sample. Results were weighted for age within gender, region, race/ethnicity, income, and wireless carrier where necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the population.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: The Biden and Harris inauguration

President Biden and first lady Jill Biden watch a fireworks show on the National Mall from the Truman Balcony at the White House on Wednesday night. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Biden signed his first executive orders into law from the Oval Office on Wednesday evening after walking in a brief inaugural parade to the White House with First Lady Jill Biden and members of their family. He was inaugurated with Vice President Kamala Harris at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday morning.

Why it matters: Many of Biden's day one actions immediately reverse key Trump administration policies, including rejoining the Paris Agreement and the World Health Organization, launching a racial equity initiative and reversing the Muslim travel ban.

Republicans pledge to set aside differences and work with Biden

President Biden speaks to Sen. Mitch McConnell after being sworn in at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Several Republicans praised President Biden's calls for unity during his inaugural address on Wednesday and pledged to work together for the benefit of the American people.

Why it matters: The Democrats only have a slim majority in the Senate and Biden will likely need to work with the GOP to pass his legislative agenda.

The Biden protection plan

Joe Biden announces his first run for the presidency in June 1987. Photo: Howard L. Sachs/CNP/Getty Images

The Joe Biden who became the 46th president on Wednesday isn't the same blabbermouth who failed in 1988 and 2008.

Why it matters: Biden now heeds guidance about staying on task with speeches and no longer worries a gaffe or two will cost him an election. His staff also limits the places where he speaks freely and off the cuff. This Biden protective bubble will only tighten in the months ahead, aides tell Axios.