CNN polls shows Obama faces scandal risk

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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The swing-voting public is interested in and concerned about the White House’s proliferating scandals, but isn’t rushing to condemn President Barack Obama, according to a new CNN poll.

Eighty-five percent of respondents said it was very or somewhat important that “the IRS targeted conservative political groups for greater scrutiny,” and 71 percent said the IRS’ behavior was unacceptable.

When asked about the alleged cover-up after the successful jihadi strike in Benghazi, 84 percent said it was somewhat or very important. Fifty-nine percent said they believed the government “could … have prevented the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya.” That’s up from 48 percent last November.

Yet the same poll also showed Obama’s approval rating at 53 percent, up a few points from April, down a few points from January.

Forty-six percent of the Americans said Obama’s response to the IRS scandal is “mostly true.”

Fifteen percent said his statements were completely true, and 35 percent said his comments were mostly or completely false.

Fifty-five percent said the IRS officials acted on their own, while 37 percent said the White House ordered the tactics.

But the poll also showed a gradual shift in opinion away from Obama on the Benghazi issue.

Fifty percent said the White House’s post-Benghazi statements “reflected what the Obama administration believed at the time had occurred.” That’s down 6 points from November.

Forty-four percent said the “statements were an attempt by the Obama administration to intentionally mislead the American public about that attack.” That’s up 4 points from November.

The IRS issue may also see a rapid change in opinion. The poll showed that 65 percent of Americans have a somewhat or very unfavorable view of the IRS.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC. It included 923 adults, not voters, and was conducted May 17-18.

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