A new poll conducted jointly by The Washington Post and ABC News revealed some interesting trends. Among other findings, more Americans feel that Obama and his administration are lying about Benghazi. A majority feel that the IRS acted inappropriately by targeting conservative groups. The media are still distrusted, with a majority feeling that the Justice Department’s seizure of the AP’s phone records was justified. Despite all this disapproval, Obama’s approval rating is still just over 50 percent positive.
An important metric in the ABC/WashPost poll was the question of whether or not government is doing more to protect or threaten our rights. 54% felt that the government had become a threat to our rights while only 34% said that the government was acting properly to protect our rights. The American people’s faith in government is at a low ebb.
This distrust is echoed when the poll turned to the specific cases of Benghazi and the IRS.
55% said that they feel that Obama is trying to cover up what happened during the terror attacks on our facilities in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11, 2012. Only 33% felt he was honestly disclosing what he knew.
This doesn’t seem to have helped the GOP too much though. 45% still felt the GOP was just engaging in political posturing by criticizing Obama’s actions on that fateful day. 44% felt the GOP was raising legitimate concerns.
Granted this close 50/50 split tends to shadow how the nation feels about Obama, Congress and the two parties.
As to the IRS scandal, a large majority felt that the tax agency was inappropriate in its targeting of conservative groups. 74% said it was inappropriate while only 20% said that it was appropriate. Further, 37% felt the IRS acted illegally with another 32% said they felt it was inappropriate but maybe not illegal.
Also, 56% felt that the IRS was acting in a partisan manner, deliberately trying to harass conservative groups, and 45% feel that Obama is trying to cover up the facts about that targeting.
The other most recent scandal in the news was Obama’s Justice Department seizing the personal and business phone records of some 100 reporters from the Associated Press. It appears that the media are still not well liked by these respondents.
52% said that the DOJ’s spying on the phone calls of the AP reporters was justified. Only 33% said it isn’t justified. Worse for the media, most respondents weren’t concerned at all that the DOJ might be improperly intruding on the freedom of the press. 32% said they were very concerned that freedom of the press was being trampled upon, but 37% said they were only somewhat concerned, and an additional 29% said they weren’t concerned about it. In a blow to the media, here, more are not very concerned about the AP phone records scandal than are.
Finally, despite that a majority of 57% feel the country is on the wrong track, Obama is still hovering around the break even line in approval. More respondents approved of his work as president (51% to 44%), he split even on his handling of the economy (48% to 48%), and in the matchup between Obama and the Republicans, 46% felt he was handling the economy well compared to only 37% who thought that the GOP was handling it better.
The GOP is not succeeding in getting their message across, clearly.
As to Hillary Clinton, she is still enjoying a relatively high approval rating. 62% of respondents felt she handled her job as Secretary of State well, while only 28% disapproved of her actions.
The poll, conducted in the middle of May, was taken among respondents that self-identified as 33% Democrat, 22% Republican, with 38% self-identifying as independents.