Politics
An armed man poses with his rifle as buildings and cars burn inside the U.S. consulate compound in Benghazi, Libya, Sept. 11, 2012. Getty Images. An armed man poses with his rifle as buildings and cars burn inside the U.S. consulate compound in Benghazi, Libya, Sept. 11, 2012. Getty Images.  

Poll: Americans aren’t buying Obama’s ‘phony scandal’ messaging

Photo of Katie McHugh
Katie McHugh
Associate Editor

A Fox News poll released Thursday revealed that a majority of Republican and Democratic voters alike strongly disagree with the Obama administration’s dismissal of the scandals plaguing Washington as “phony,” with 78 percent of respondents answering that the administration’s handling of the deadly attack is a serious matter.

Over 60 percent of respondents believe the administration is trying to cover up what happened the night of the assault, which left U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead, with 67 percent agreeing that President Barack Obama should have been personally involved in White House deliberations regarding the attack.

The poll’s breakdowns, however, reveal a few partisan and racial divides: Half the Democrats and 57 percent of black respondents polled believe that the administration is being open and transparent about its handling of the attack. But 88 percent of Republicans and 68 percent white respondents suspect the government is involved in a cover-up.

Americans are slightly more ambivalent about IRS targeting of tea party groups applying for tax-exempt status. A full third of respondents — 33 percent — agree with the Obama administration that the political targeting is a non-issue, with 59 percent saying it should be taken seriously. Discrepancies between different respondent groups vanish, except for Democrats. Over 40 percent of Democrats believe the IRS scandal is “phony” while 49 percent side with the majority of respondents. Over half of the respondents in each group also believe that the Department of Justice’s monitoring of certain journalists crossed a line as well.

Obama tried to brush off the scandals in a July speech given at Knox College.

“With this endless parade of distractions and political posturing and phony scandals, Washington has taken its eye off the ball,” Obama said, without specifying which of many scandals to he had in mind. He also said GOP criticism of the scandals “needs to stop.”

“Short-term thinking and stale debates are not what this moment requires,” he said.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney echoed the president’s sentiments, telling reporters the next day that the “phony scandals” inexplicably “captured the attention of many in Washington.”

According to the Fox News poll, 52 percent of voters disapprove of Obama’s current performance, while 42 percent feel that the president is doing his best.

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