Poll: More approve of Obama's response to embassy attack than Romney's
September 17th, 2012
03:10 PM ET
2 years ago

Poll: More approve of Obama's response to embassy attack than Romney's

(CNN) – Americans who were closely following developments in last week's attacks on American diplomatic posts in Egypt and Libya were more likely to favorably rate President Barack Obama's handling of the dilemma than they were Mitt Romney's, according to a poll released Monday.

The survey from the Pew Research Center found 45% of Americans who said they were closely following the news approved of Obama's handling of the situation, compared to 26% who approved of Romney's statements. Conversely, 36% disapproved of Obama's handling of the situation, and 48% disapproved of Romney's response. Nineteen percent didn't have an opinion on Obama, and 26% couldn't rate Romney.

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The partisan breakdown of those who said they were following the news closely was largely even. Forty-eight percent of Republicans and 41% of Democrats said they were following the developments closely.

The attacks last week on the U.S. embassy in Cairo and an American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, drew sharp reaction from Romney. The GOP presidential nominee initially issued a statement last Tuesday night, as reports indicated an American diplomatic worker in Benghazi had been killed in an attack. The Republican candidate's statement was sent before news broke that the American ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, had been killed in the attack.

In separate protests in Cairo, several men scaled the walls of the U.S. embassy and tore down its American flag. The violence in both Libya and Egypt stemmed from anger about an online film considered offensive to Islam.

In his statement, Romney said he was "outraged" by the attacks in Benghazi and Cairo, but took harsh aim at the Obama administration for what he characterized as a weak response to the violence.

"It's disgraceful that the Obama Administration's first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks," Romney wrote, an apparent reference to a statement from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo that denounced the anti-Islam film that is the source of the protesters' anger. The embassy's statement was released before protesters stormed the American embassy in Cairo on Tuesday.

Reaction to Romney's remarks was mixed. While some Republicans defended their party's presidential nominee, others were more critical, saying Romney had acted too quickly to inject politics into the still-developing situation.

The Pew Research Center poll surveyed 854 Americans who said they were closely following the news in Libya and Egypt. The poll was taken by telephone between September 13-16, and the sampling error was plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.


Filed under: 2012 • Foreign Policy • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (102 Responses)
  1. Joan in MS

    You could see this poll result coming ... after all, Romney did in fact "shoot first and aim later."

    September 17, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    Perhaps there's some hope that Amurikans are letting go of the idea that shoot-from-the-hip cowboy foreign policy is necessary in order to address EVERY situation that comes up.

    September 17, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  3. FactCheck

    File under the category of : Duh.

    September 17, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  4. n

    Romney is finished!

    September 17, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  5. The REAL Truth...

    Given the right wing opportunist rhetoric, one has to wonder at the timing of the release of the video and the source of funding by the bozos who produced/released it.......

    September 17, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  6. Bootstomper

    America wake up, Romney is a complete idiot.

    September 17, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  7. NOTADEMOCRAT

    The O-media team's Romney smear gets another win! Way to push those attacks CNN!!

    September 17, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  8. ThinkAgain: Mittens 'n' Munster are Liars

    Of course more people approve of President Obama's response: President Obama not only has more information about the situation than Mittens does, he put the our nation's well-being ahead of everything else while Mittens tried to score a couple cheap political points.

    Obama/Biden 2012 = The only sane choice

    September 17, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  9. Obama's America 2016

    100% democrats polled.

    September 17, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  10. RealityBites

    Healthcare, CHina, Obama's applogetic reaponses to terror..,
    WOW! CNN is going all out to ignore the millions of Americans out of work for the last 4yrs.

    September 17, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  11. Woman In California

    Nineteen percent didn't have an opinion on Obama, and 26% couldn't rate Romney.

    -–

    This says it all. 26% couldn't rate Romney. Most people are doing exactly what I do lately and that is, NOT listen to Willard's ignorance at all.

    September 17, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  12. Indy

    The country was under a terrorist attack on US owned land,which is an act of war and Mitts threw the country under the bus and 26% of people approved of the way Mitts Romney handled this ? I would guess that 25 % are Fox News Junkies

    September 17, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  13. MaryM

    Romney/Ryan = Fail

    September 17, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  14. kayla

    robme reminds me of the coyote always chasing the road runners, everytime he thinks he got obama cornered, he looks stupid instead, atta boy robme.

    September 17, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  15. truth hurts

    But do the American people know that these four Americans died because of the incompetence of the Obama administration and their failure to bolster security on the anniversary of 9/11, even after receiving warnings from the locals that the situation was extemely dangerous?

    OIf course not, because the Obama administration will cover it up and the LSM will not report on it or ask the questions that should be asked. That would hurt their chosen candidate, Obama.

    September 17, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  16. 1twinsfan

    React first and get the facts eventually is Romney's foreign policy. You know who else has a react first and learn the facts eventually plan? The people currently protesting against the US over this video.

    September 17, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  17. Obama's America 2016

    A vote for Obama/Biden is a vote for the destruction of America.

    September 17, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  18. Chester

    Obama Administration's first response was correct, it is best to get all the info on and weight through all the trash before you put you foot in you mouth. Mitt was to put out a statement first with out finding out all the facts. Was burns me up is that there is only one President at one time, Mitt should keep his mouth shut, and waited until all the fact were in. As you can see who was wrong again. It is always great to walk with a big stick but know when you bring it out and use it.

    September 17, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  19. Susan

    If you poll only left wingers, what would you expect? Biased polls, biased media.

    September 17, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  20. NEVER to VOTE REPUBLICAN again

    M.R. Will never be POTUS! He has no spine!

    September 17, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  21. Phi Thomas

    it just shows you how you can't Plot if you want to Run, this guy is plotting against the president not running against him no ideas, thoughts or plans. Just a 24/7 presidential heckler, Obama can't use the bathroom with out Mitt and the lying wonder boy VP having a comment on it. Its Cookies for Mitt, might as well put that super PAC money in those Senate Races the whole nation won't be watching so it easier to get a Buffoon in government to do your bidding

    September 17, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  22. Keeping it Real

    To me, the response isn't the issue, but the preparations. It certainly appears that the administration is trying to downplay the fact that the embassy was not protected adequately even though there was prior warning sent 48 hours prior to the attack. Now the administration is trying to paint the event as an unplanned, unorganized attack, when all evidence appears to indicate otherwise. Yes, I think it's fair to criticism the preparedness. From all accounts, it was not adequate protection. The decision to sent marines after the fact, well, to be honest, is a no brainier.

    September 17, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  23. Ricardo

    Whoever approve Romney statement in the embassy attack is a nut like he is.

    September 17, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  24. Bill

    Obama will turn this around to be our fault. after all, Obama is now trying to run on Clintons performance from the 90s. Dumb dems will go to the polls in November looking for Bill Clinton on the ballot.

    September 17, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  25. sonny chapman

    I guess the 36% who disapprove of PRESIDENT Obama's handling of the situation just hate Obama more than their self-professed Love of America.

    September 17, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
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