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. Rick McDaniel

    We read that on a democratic Propagandist network.....so it CANNOT be believed.

    September 17, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  2. Liberty

    Meanwhile yesterday the administration had Susan Rice out yesterday telling everyone that the online film caused demonstrators to attack the embassy. I don't know many demonostrators with rocket launchers but the media is so in the tank for the Obama adninistration they don't even ask question that distorted logic. Its pathetic. But I do agree we might be in for another four years of the fabulous orator and horrendous leader. Israel is going to attack Israel sometime soon – thats a guarantee.

    September 17, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  3. ja

    i would hop[e so, Obama is the president, Romney is a wanna be, and you expect presidential statements from the president

    September 17, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  4. Phi Thomas

    Not Ready for Prime Time Mitt caught yet again not looking Presidential

    September 17, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  5. The Real Tom Paine

    -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.
    ***************************
    Excuse me, but how do you prepare an embassy for carefully coordinated attack with RPGs and machine guns? And since when did the administration protray it as an "unplanned, uncordinated attack"? When, at any time, was that said? You engage in the kind of smear attacks that have become so prevelent from the Righties over the last four years, and you never demonstrate how things could have been different if your lot had been in charge. Most likely, there would not have been an assault, since Quadaffi would probaly still be in charge ( with GOP help).

    September 17, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  6. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I wish you right wingnuts would stop with the lies about Obama apologizing. It is a lie, and has been pointed out as a lie by fact checkers. You Fox foreign owned media viewers are the most misinformed domestic terrorists.

    September 17, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  7. Wake up People!

    Actually Reality Bites, most people, myself included, lost their jobs during those last few months of the Bush admin. But we all got new ones after President Obama came into office......

    September 17, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  8. maf

    @truth – you tried this argument over the weekend and were soundly trashed by reasonable and backed up dialogue from a number of posters. Put this line away as it is not factual. Again, more of the same nothing from you and the GOP base!

    Mitt is definitely sprayin' and prayin' at this stage of the campaign. Get out and vote Democrats!! That's the only way to ensure that America doesn't DOUBLE DOWN ON TRICKLE DOWN!!

    September 17, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  9. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Mittens and the low life baggers have spent the last four years attacking our president, and blaming him for republican failures. According to Fox foreign owned media in 2007, to attack a president in wartime, that is treason.

    September 17, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  10. chilly g

    mitt why do you want to be president? you are a business person and should be out doing business, we will
    never vote for you for president because you don't stand for anything, you have no real principles just win at
    all cost period, well that not good enough for me, president obama 2012 thru 2016

    September 17, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  11. PaMom

    Do you really believe CNN? Do you really understand foreign policy and leadership and honestly believe in Obama? God help this country if that is the truth....he refuses to take responsibility like everything else these past 3 years and blames it on a movie? Get real folks but then the media has helped Obama every step of the way> You are all so short sighted!

    September 17, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  12. Debby

    What do you expect this is Cnn of course more approve of Obama's response you probably polled mostly dems.

    September 17, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  13. Phi Thomas

    @Bill your not the brightest pencil in the box. Romney attempted to as you put it turn this around to make it Obamas fault. The term "our" you used ignorant, this isn't a football game or baseball game its not Niners vs Packers. Unless you have 500K household Income Mitts not your your guy, your opinion should not be based on traditional party affiliation its pretty simple who has your interests at heart. This is the same Clinton Fox an the right wing Radio programmed you to hate in the late 90's so yes its possible years from now the programming on Obama might wear off if he like Clinton gets a second term. "Our" fault that's funny this dud is getting his money from like five people, they own him not you Silly RNC members lol.

    September 17, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  14. John

    GOP party has gone just plain nuts. Obama/Biden are the way Forward.

    September 17, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  15. NameGhost

    Romney Is a thoughtless bully who had his own way in boardrooms, but will be locked out of the stateroom. He has no idea how to or govern. He is a egomaniac on the loose, a megalomaniac the likes we haven't seen since ahab. And we all know how well that turned out. He cant control his party, his campaign, his advisors; how can he lead the nation? This isnt about whether youre better off now than four years ago. This is about whether the country we know and love will be here if we foolishly get 4 years of inept
    Governance. Our pocketbooks are just part of the equation. Romney is a stained empty suit. Ryan is a compulsive liar, the grown up discredited Eddie haskell. If we want to go back to a different era, maybe my favorite martian is a better choice than these two clowns.

    September 17, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  16. BLKMANinAmerica

    Duh....................what person in the right mind or otherwise wants a known LIER and a person who will change like the wind (robo-Romney). I guess like myself a large majority of middle America remembers the poster child of LIERs GW Bush n company.

    September 17, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  17. zp

    Who are you polling? An alien nation? That can't be accurate. Obama was in Las Vegas the night a U.S. Ambassador was murdered – unthinkable – disgraceful !

    September 17, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  18. Steve- Illinois

    Romney shot first and hit a bullseye! Now reports are coming out that it was a coordinated attack, and their had been little protesting prior to the attack. Obama's foreign policy is a mess. No Marines for this post, they decide on each post whether or not to use Marines. Apparently Libya was so safe they didn't need them there, meanwhile..........in the turbulent countries such as France, Germany, Italy, etc. Marines stand guard.
    Unbelievable!!!

    September 17, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  19. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    The Bush republican foreign policy was called "Cowboy Diplomacy." Yer either fer us or agin' us is not leadership, regardless of what a right wingnut says.

    September 17, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  20. Dean

    Stupidity and arrogance have no place in the White House. Obama must go.

    September 17, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  21. Gurgyl

    Mitt has no brain.....simple.

    September 17, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  22. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Who in their right mind would support Mittens' attack on American embassies? He is no better than al Qaeda or the Taliban.

    September 17, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  23. Bill

    Poor Mittens. To quote that great stateman form the state of Texas – – – "Oops."

    September 17, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  24. Mack

    Time to shake the etch a sketch Mitt, nothing seems to be working. Hate, lies and fear is no way to run a campaign, we had enough of that after 8 years of Bush.

    September 17, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  25. Wake up People!

    Wasn't the shrub warned about 9/11 months in advance??? And what did he do?? Nothing. 1000's of Americans killed. What did you do? You gave him permission to invade a country that had nothing to do with 9/11, with imaginary WMD's. He didn't even try to go after Bin Laden. Then you reelected him and he put us on the fasttrack to destruction.

    These latest attacks, I would not put past the GOP being behind everything. Anyone with half a brain knows they are nothing but a bunch of traitors that only care about one thing. Making President Obama a one term POTUS.

    September 17, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
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