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Exclusive: Public doesn't trust Trump on midterms meddling

A majority of Americans have little to no faith that the Trump administration will stop foreign governments from interfering in the 2018 midterm elections, according to an Axios-SurveyMonkey poll. Republicans overwhelmingly trust the administration, but independents and Democrats don't, by large margins.

Why it matters: This is a huge issue that could undermine public confidence in the elections — and President Trump and the White House team are going to face constant questions about it between now and November. Try to think of the last election where the public didn't trust the president to prevent foreign meddling.

Data: SurveyMonkey polls held Feb. 21–23, 2018. Poll Methodology.; Chart: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Don't forget: Adm. Mike Rogers of the U.S. Cyber Command and the National Security Agency has testified that Trump hasn't given him the authority to disrupt Russian election hacking operations.

The big picture: Most Americans say the federal government and tech companies have the responsibility to prevent foreign governments from using tech platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google to manipulate elections. The public doesn't have a lot of confidence in the tech companies either, but they're more evenly divided than they are on trust in the Trump administration.

The numbers that matter:

  • Overall, 66% of Americans say tech companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter have a "major responsibility" to stop foreign interference in the elections.
  • 63% say the federal government has a major responsibility to do the same.
  • Americans are evenly split, 48% to 48%, on whether they trust the tech companies to prevent foreign meddling.
  • Eight out of 10 Americans blame the tech companies for not doing more to keep their platforms safe from meddling in the 2016 elections, while 55% blame the Obama administration for not doing more on their end.

The bottom line: Americans are not in a good mood heading into the midterms — and that's a recipe for more than the usual distrust and fighting over the closest races.

Methodology: The online survey was conducted by SurveyMonkey from February 21-23, 2018 among 3,574 adults in the United States. They were selected from the nearly 3 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. The modeled error estimate for the full sample is 2.5 percentage points. Crosstabs available here.