Poll: More approve of Obama's response to embassy attack than Romney's
September 17th, 2012
03:10 PM ET
6 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. Mark

    Bottom line is that Romney is the republican version of John Kerry. The election results will be the same. that's why republicans are trying to surpress voting in key states. It's not because of voter fraud. It's because their candidate can't win.

    September 17, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  2. B.

    Obama has a foreign Policy,Romney does not.

    Obama has an interest in understanding problems in depth, Romney shoots for effect.

    Obama understands and cares about People, Romney does not.

    Obama basically has the "Right Stuff", to deal with events, Romney does not.

    September 17, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Mitt Romney had no response. HIs only response was to criticize Pres. Obama, and make statements that seemed to fan the flames. Romney has lived a sheltered life and never encountered those on the extreme during his youth.

    The first rule when dealing with extremists is not to attack them unless you have some means turning down the fervor, which does not mean meeting extreme violence with extreme violence of your own. If these current neo-cons were around when the Cold War began, the Earth would be a giant ball of charred cinders today.

    September 17, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  4. The REAL Truth...

    @PaMom – 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!
    Too much Faux Noise cool-aid this morning.?? You are obviously disillusioned with the POTUS, and nothing wrong with that. What is very apparent is the same lack of understanding on the very issues you have with the POTUS. That one even considers that the last 3 yrs are due to a recently released "movie" of dubious politically motivated reason and calculated response from the mid-east, indicates less than partial understanding. The LSM supports BOTH sides of the equation, not just one. The best one can do is refuse to believe anything and do your own research to determine the best candidate, not parrot the propaganda from one side or the other.

    September 17, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  5. Pander Bear

    Ready Shoot Aim works great if you are a Ramen Profitable Silicon Valley start-up, but it's reckless and irresponsible if you are supposed to be running for President of the United States.

    September 17, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  6. Martha in CF

    Ya think--Robme would have had the troups invading already...And why stop in Lybia, Egypt? Ah lets get Iran over with too.....Obama is far more level headed than Robme is.....

    September 17, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    "Romney Is a thoughtless bully who had his own way in boardrooms ..."

    Guess Romney thought he could have his way with his own party (and the media) too. Reading the whiners complaining because their candidate is now making a fool of himself on a daily basis is sweet justice. They went from one clown to the next during the primaries and now - for whatever reason - they can't seem to understand why no one else likes Romney either.

    September 17, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  8. Joan

    It is not just Romney's response that was not appropriate, it is the whole Republican stance on Muslims. It is not long ago that Michelle Bachmann and several others wrote very objectionable letters asking for inquiries into several people and accusing them of trying to infiltrate Islam into the White House. It was absurd. It was a far right Christian pastor from Florida who burned the Quaran and caused the death of many soldiers. It was a Conservative blogger who initiated the hateful "mosque at Ground Zero" controversy which was actually a community centre two blocks from Ground Zero. The issue was fanned by the media and caused a lot of unnecessary hatred and political divide. This hateful film made by a Coptic Christian with help from an anti-Muslim speaker and supported by the crazy Florida pastor is another in a long line of events that is causing terrible harm to peace at home and abroad. The deaths, riots and destruction fall aquarely on their shoulder. When will it end?. The Republican rhetoric is very scary and their comments about Iran sound very similar to those made during the run up to the Iraq war. Their bowing down to the PM of Israel is very troubling. He should be spending his time in peace talks with Palestine and come up with a fair two state solution. He may be using Iran as a diversion from taking part on any kind of compromise. The PM should realize that Israel is not the centre of the universe and is actually a thorne in the side of any kind of peace in the whole region. He seems to be a bully who wants things his own way and thinks he can tell other countries what to do. At least Pres. Obama has the intellect and resolve to stay firm and run his country without unwanted outside advice. It is becoming more and more clear that a Romney presidency would follow too many of the Bush era economical and foreign affairs policies. That is terrifying.

    September 17, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  9. truth hurts

    Obama and the left has done everything possible to mix the events in Cairo up with the events in Libya, where 4 American died. Romney's statement was in regards to the CAIRO statement issued from the embassy which DID apologize about the movie in a lame attempt tp placate the muslim mobs. It was absolutely correct to attack that pathetically lame offical statement. The Obama adminstration later disavowed it and claimed it was not authorized. Those actions have proven Romney was correct in his assessment.

    Then there was the Libya attacks which resulted in the death of 4 Americans, including the American ambassador. Those deaths were entirely preventable and were a result of an incompetent Obama administration that failed to heighten security and protection at our foreign embassies and consultates on the anniversary of 9/11.

    Of course, in true Obama smoke and mirror fashion, he is attempting to lay blame everywhere else. Attack Romney, blame a film nobody has seen, and of course, not mention that the Democrats spent nearly a week shouting how great it was that they killed UBL, not that THAT might incite muslims to act.

    And the LSM plays along to protect their disaster, Obama.

    September 17, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  10. Mike

    Republicans are more interested in gaining control of the White House than having the country succeed. They're already on record for stating they hope Obama fails. They have voted against everyhting he has proposed therefore sealign the fate of the country. They are more to blame for this recession. After all, it started under their watch.

    September 17, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  11. once upon a horse

    when our country is attacked even if it's our embassies and American lives are lost normally BOTH parties unite behind the president.....the Romney campaign chose to do the opposite and put party first and try to score political points. He did not even wait for the victims' names to be announced, their families told, or even the FACTS before he went on the attack. Did not do him a lot of good in the hindsight.

    September 17, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  12. Jake in Omaha

    Willard Show us the tax returns. NO TAX RETURNS NO VOTE!

    September 17, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  13. maria Bryan

    Romny is nothing more that a spoil rich child, he done care about the middle class he just want to have something more to add to his name he is the president but as time goes on everyone finding out who is really Romny and Paul Rayn

    September 17, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  14. My Vote Is Not For Sale

    Romney has proven me right. I really thing he is losing it because he is not getting to control things as he did at Bain. Check out the Huffington Post where Romney was taped early this year at a closed door fundraiser with big donors. Videos have been posted online where he insults 50% of Americans and makes racists statements about latinos. I thought his tax cheating would be the October Suprise but I did not expect a September suprise.

    September 17, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  15. Ga.Democrat

    I just can't understand how anyone could vote for this man for POTUS. His statement after the embassy attacks was so inappropriate. His overseas trip was humiliating. He fumbles over his words, always looks so uncomfortable and inept, never answers a question, and cannot take a stand on anything. If he has a plan for the economy he won't give us the details because he knows that the middle class are the ones who will be devastated by the loopholes he plans to close. He and his darling wife treat women like we have absolutely no brains and would like to take us back in time 50 years. He chose an absolute lunatic for his VP and the two of them run around the country looking like deer in headlights every time they are asked a question and lying when the truth is handy. Their foreign policy consists of beating the war drums and they seem to have no idea what diplomacy is. These two are the most dishonest candidates to ever be on the ticket. The Romney/Ryan plan of bashing the President is getting old! Bring on the debates!:)

    September 17, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  16. thetruthandnothingbutthetruth

    wasn't it Huckabee that said Romney "has no soul?"

    September 17, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  17. Nowhere Man

    I heard it was all Mitt's idea. There isn't even a campaign advisor that Mitt can pin this on. It was Mitt Romney who drove the whole idea. Just more of his "apology fantansy" lie once again regurgitated for the idiots that believe in fairy dust and imarginary Obama apology tours that never happened–except in the warped mind of Willard Flip Romney. Flip was just chomping at the bit to beat Obama to the press after promising to keep his mouth shut on 9/11 and show a little respect for once.

    At this point, Mitt Romney is more and more looking like a cross between Two-Face and the Joker trying anything he can to get the bat man. He's the guy with the maniacal laugh flipping a coin and deciding policy on a day-to-day basis. Still down in the polls. Flip, flip, flip the coin. Flip really hasn't got a snowball's chance in hades of becoming president of the country I live in.

    He's a real nowhere man sitting in his nowhere land making all his nowhere plans for nobody.

    September 17, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  18. Durangokid

    Obama is had no response! He still doesn't.
    Why is the government ignoring the fact that the embassy "safe" house was also attacked.
    Did the flash mob have that information too?
    Libya attacks were planned.
    Our foreign policy is a disaster.

    September 17, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  19. Marie MD

    Glad to see people are not asleep at the wheel in the US. The bain capitalist is running scared and he has shown that he has no leadership capabilities at all. Isn't this his supposed strength? Manage? He cant even manage his own campaign and we are still waiting what this new flip flopping us because it sounds just like the same old nithing!

    September 17, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  20. Anonymous


    2002-U.S. Embassy Karachi, Pakistan -10 killed, 51 injured
    2004 U. S. Embassy bombed in Uzbekistan – 2 killed -several injured.
    2004 U.S. Consulate Saudi Arabia – 8 killed
    2006 US. Embassy Syria – 1 killed several injured
    2007 U.S. Embassy -Athens- building bombed with an anti-tank grenade...fortunately no one was in the building at the time.
    2008-U.S. Embassy -Serbia – 1 dead -Embassy set on fire
    2008- U. S. Embassy- Yemen- bombed 10 killed

    Do you blame Bush for the events listed above? Do you blame Bush for the events on 9/11/2001?

    September 17, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  21. Lionel

    Repubtards and Mitt the Twit caused an economic diaster and started two wars which nearly bankrupted our country and now they are complaining that Obama did not clean up their mess fast enough.

    Robme is a bully and thinks that he deserves the presidency.

    Latinos for Obama 2012

    September 17, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  22. Steve- Illinois

    Durangokid, amazing isn't it how libs pretend to not see the obvious? The attacks aren't planned, but they happen simultaneously from 3 directions, the "safe house" is attacked shortly after, and this was all a reaction from some obscure movie released months ago?
    Only a fool refuses to believe what his own eyes see.

    September 17, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  23. Randy, San Francisco

    Romney's campaign is in free fall. How many more unpresidential performances can he survive?

    September 17, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC

    If you think Mitt Romney is bad now, this is just the opening of the second act. Just wait for the closing minutes of the thrid and final act when the tax returns are supposed to be revealed. Mitt Romney is not going to have any to show the voters, and he will try to chuckle it off. Then Ann steps, "Didn't I tell YOU ALL....."

    September 17, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  25. michael charles

    Romney is not ready to be our Commander in Chief. His response proved that. Also he broke the code of all past people running for Presodent. You don't bring politics into a crisis the nation is facing. I do not trust this man.

    September 17, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
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