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. Q

    In the words of Dick Cheney, the Romney campaign has been a "unmitigated disaster".

    September 17, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  2. CBR

    It is not time to fan the flames. We should have learned this by now. This whole situation calls for reason and until all the facts are known politicians should keep quiet. Sometimes we just need to work together even during a presidential election. THe families of those killed and their colleagues and friends deserved better form Mr. Romney.

    September 17, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  3. Getoverit

    @Jake in Omaha

    Willard Show us the tax returns. NO TAX RETURNS NO VOTE!
    I seriously doubt Romney had your vote in the first place. But when he does show his tax returns, I'm sure you will vote for him, right?

    September 17, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  4. "If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen." --B. Obama

    Rasmussen has Romney up 47-45 over the uhbama.

    September 17, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  5. Expat American

    Romney is not the person you want in the White House when it comes to foreign policy. He would practice the same failed cowboy diplomacy as Bush.

    September 17, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  6. Keeping it Real

    The Real Tom Paine "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).
    Unlike your rants, I'll respond as if you have been hiding under a rock and have not made any attempt to look up the responses by the Obama administration. The White House has been characterized this attack as an out of control protest and NOT an organized attack. Statements made by the U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice yesterday mimic that. Additionally the White House press conference this morning also downplay the event as a mere protest of the anti-Muslim movie.

    What could be done? Well, for starters, anything but nothing? Some well armed marines, or even closed down the embassy. It sounds in your post as if we should just give up, that nothing could be done! To be honest, I do not believe that we possessed specific information about the attack. The govt did send out warnings prior to the attack, but nothing beyond that if my understanding is correct. To me, this is a fair question and since people died, I'd think that you might want to know too. Sorry if I was wrong. Maybe you only care if there is a Republican President in charge, but not a Democrat? I'm sorry that you somehow feel attacked by my statements so as to assault me in your post. If you have conflicting information, I encourage you to post it. Otherwise, please go back to drinking your liberal partisan kool-aid.

    September 17, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  7. bailouts

    obama doesn't know where to turn. really too bad.
    the arab world does not accept appolgies or WEAKNESS of any kind from males...they view it as complete weakness.

    now if you know their world, you also understand that when a woman...hillary clinton, chasitses their manhood and their beliefs, by telling them how they should act more civily and be more tolerant, be more forgiving and more like fair men...oh my god.. they would stone her if they could get to her. that's just how their tribal culture operates and how their loyalties and core beliefs play out.

    obama's cabinet does not kknow the history, culture, or the belief system of our enemy..the radial islamists.

    September 17, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  8. Michael


    September 17, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  9. PixieDust

    Romney/Ryan the losing team for 2012.

    September 17, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  10. SuperD

    What is really sickening is that this whole issue is straight from the Obama camp. Now the press has run with it and now it's suppossedly an issue. I guess each morning ABC, NBC and CBS call the President and ask "What do need to report on today?"

    You know what? Screw Obama, Romney has the right to call it the way he sees it and if crybaby progressives get their commie panties in a wad over it, so freaken what!

    Obama and the Democrats are imbeciles, and anyone with true filter in their brain realizes it because it's so freaken obvious.

    It's very likely Obama is going to get his sorry ass handed to him and thank God for that!

    September 17, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  11. Dar

    The poll is all BS! I have not heard one real person say that we did the right thing or the wrong thing. Except for the politicans who want to gain something from this.It is all a bunch of BS.
    We lost 4 Americans because of some radicals that hate us.This is not going to stop until we give up and pull everyone out of those countries that keep stabing us in the back. We have oil here folks, we dont need this crap.
    Once we leave let them they can kill each other off , then we can go back and finish the job we started of trying to help people live a better life in these slum holes. BUT only if they ask nice! (right)

    September 17, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  12. bailouts

    to all the hard core dems, libs, and progressives...instead of just repeating what axeldick wants you to...do your own hard core research..
    you will find out very significant failures in the backroom politics and policy desicions made by obama's staff and himself.

    the current teachers strike oin chicago..the unions themselves are turned against his policies.. the lack of security in the embassy murders. 2 security officers... come on..prepared for a 911 anniversary...
    the arab world on fire from a video..no they know we are weak now and pulling out in 2years. they think it's like the soviet union losing and leaving....guys dont just repeat like parrots what the media wants you to, be your own person and decide you own future..don't vote for romney, don't vote for obama...vote for the USA..whoever can make it better fine..don't destroy either because you are told to by the media. and not your conscience to do so..

    September 17, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  13. once upon a horse

    I had always maintained that if this country were attacked again the GOP would BLAME the president instead of standing with him like we all did with President Bush.......Mitt Romney just proved my fears to be correct.

    September 17, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  14. Truth teller

    Your poll makes zero sense but then the media hasn't informed the public of all the facts. Informed people know Obama administration falls short at every turn.

    September 17, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  15. "Oust the House", vote a straight Dem ticket in 2012!

    The President had a sane response, Mittens had an inane response.

    "You people" could tell the diierence.

    September 17, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  16. Geri

    Honey Boo Boo knows more about foreign policy than Willard the Rat Romney!

    September 17, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  17. Geri

    Willard is a disgrace! Obama saves face! Willard is just out for the 1%. Even Honey Boo Boo would be an improvement.

    September 17, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  18. Susan

    I see CNN got its talking points from Obama this morning. Since when is it good policy to have been forwarned about an attacl. do nothing, allow four American citizens to get killed and say wow this president really has good foreign policy. You guys are nuts. Noone in their right mind believes what Obama is doing for our country is good. Obama is an unmitigated disaster and everyone knows it. And for those of ya'll working for him to go onnline and post good things about his foreign policy the American people are just not buying it.

    September 17, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    "You know what? Screw Obama, Romney has the right to call it the way he sees it and if crybaby progressives get their commie panties in a wad over it, so freaken what!"

    I believe it's Romney who "got his panties in a wad" ... at least this is what the PEW poll suggests. I tend to agree he overreacted and I am going to take it up a notch and suggest to you that it was just plain awful to watch him stumbling around.

    Not presidential at all. Reminded me of his London fiasco.

    September 17, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  20. Obama's America 2016

    FORWARD off the cliff is not an option.

    September 17, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  21. Beacon

    once upon a horse

    I had always maintained that if this country were attacked again the GOP would BLAME the president instead of standing with him like we all did with President Bush.......Mitt Romney just proved my fears to be correct.

    Please. You are reading too much of the serial dishonesty that comes from Obama and the media lapdogs I guess. Bush was trashed from day one and it never stopped. Liberals are the meanest group of people out there and unfortunately it’s just part of the ugliness that’s going to come back around. We can't seem to discuss things civilly anymore.

    September 17, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  22. Obama's America 2016

    Hussein Obama is not an option

    September 17, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  23. Thomas

    In the words of Dick Cheney, the Romney campaign has been a "unmitigated disaster".


    Did Cheney really say that ?
    WOW , that coming from a guy who was the worst Presidents in American histories VP !

    September 17, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  24. Mike

    A War Weary US will be on the brink of another war with several countries is this Idiot Romney becomes President............You may not like Obama much.......but Clearly Romney is not Ready to be President of the United States........The US really will go from the frying pan to the fire if he wins!!!!

    September 17, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  25. Obama's America 2016

    wasn't it Huckabee that said Romney "has no soul?"
    Wans't/Isn't Hillary the original birther?

    September 17, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
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