Scandals hammer Obama’s approval ratings

Neil Munro | White House Correspondent

President Barack Obama’s public support has been hit hard by the metastasizing scandals, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday.

His support among swing voters lurched downwards by 14 points since May 1, according to the poll of 1,418 registered voters conducted between May 22 and May 28.

Those swing voters gave him a 37-percent approval rating, and a 57-percent disapproval rating, down from 42-percent approval and 48-percent disapproval on May 1.

The 5-point drop in approval, and 9-point increase in disapproval, is a huge loss in one month.

Public trust in Obama has also dropped sharply, from 58 percent in August 2011 to 49 percent in late May. The distrust number jumped from 37 percent to 47 percent over the same period. His approval rating overall dropped three points to 45 percent.

Meanwhile, Obama’s support among Democrats and Republicans remains polarized. Nine percent of Republicans and 87 percent of Democrats say they approve of his policies.

The most important scandal facing Obama is over the IRS scandal, where mounting evidence shows that multiple senior IRS officials used their legal powers to target and harass citizens’ tea party groups, pro-life organizations, conservative training centers and pro-Israel groups.

Seventy-eight percent of independent voters want an independent counsel to investigate the IRS’ activities. Only 17 percent of independents oppose the appointment of a counsel. (RELATED: IRS chief had more public White House visits than any Cabinet member)

“There is overwhelming bipartisan support for a special prosecutor to investigate the IRS,” concluded Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

“Voters apparently don’t like the idea of Attorney General Eric Holder investigating the matter himself, perhaps because they don’t exactly think highly of him,” he said in a statement.

“Holder gets a negative 23 — 39 percent job approval rating,” Brown added.

The IRS scandal was judged the most important by the polls’ respondents.

Forty-four percent percent said the IRS probe as the most important, while 24 percent said the Benghazi cover-up was most important, and 16 percent said the federal surveillance of journalists was most important.

Forty-seven percent of the respondents said they “think the Obama administration deliberately misled the American people about the situation with the IRS,” while 39 percent said the administration “shared facts.”

The poll showed that 53 percent of independents believe the “Obama administration deliberately misled the American people about the events surrounding the death of the American ambassador to Libya.” Only 34 percent of independents said they believed “the Obama administration shared the facts with the American people as they became available.”

Forty-three percent of independent respondents “think the Obama administration deliberately misled the American people about the situation with the AP.” Only 31 percent of independent respondents believe the administration “shared the facts with the American people as they became available.”

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