CNN Poll: Americans rate W.H. response to Benghazi attack and Petraeus resignation
November 27th, 2012
05:00 AM ET
2 years ago

CNN Poll: Americans rate W.H. response to Benghazi attack and Petraeus resignation

Washington (CNN) - Americans are giving the White House low marks for how it's handled the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and the resignation of former CIA Director David Petraeus, according to a new national survey.

But according to a CNN/ORC International poll released Tuesday, a majority of the public doesn't believe the Obama administration intentionally tried to mislead Americans on the September attack that left the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans dead. And the survey also indicates a plurality have a positive opinion of Petraeus and are divided on whether the former top U.S. should have resigned as CIA director after acknowledging an extra-marital affair.

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On Libya, 54% of the country is dissatisfied with the administration's response to the Benghazi attack, with only four in ten saying they're satisfied with the way the White House handled the matter.

"But that dissatisfaction is not because Americans see a cover-up," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Only 40% believe that the inaccurate statements that administration officials initially made about the Benghazi attack were an attempt to deliberately mislead the public. Fifty-four percent think those inaccurate statements reflected what the White House believed to be true at the time."

Nearly half of those questioned (48%) say that the U.S. could have prevented the attack on its consulate in Benghazi, with 42% saying the U.S. could not have prevented the attack.

According to the poll, the public is split right down the middle on how the Obama administration's handled the Petraeus resignation, with 44% saying that officials handled it appropriately and 44% disagreeing with that view.

The survey also indicates that Americans are also split over whether Petraeus, the former four-star general who commanded all U.S forces in Iraq and later in Afghanistan, should have resigned as CIA director. Forty-eight percent 48% say that was the right thing to do; with 48% opposed to the resignation, which happened just three days after the presidential election.

"One reason that the public is split on Petraeus' resignation is that his favorables outweigh his unfavorables by 16 points," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Forty-four percent have a positive view of him, compared to just 28% with a negative view. The rest are unfamiliar with Petraeus."

Another reason the public is divided on whether Petraeus should have resigned may be that most Americans don't think that adultery should be a crime under military law, and even fewer believe it should be a criminal offense for civilians, with that number dropping since the last time the question was asked in 1997.

Just over half of those questioned (52%) say Congress should investigate the Petraeus matter, with 47% saying they should not conduct an investigation.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International from November 16-18, with 1,023 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

– CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

soundoff (116 Responses)
  1. Just_A_Post

    Dear Mr. Predident, We forgive Petraeus for his sin. Now, please nominate him as Secretarty of Defence.

    November 27, 2012 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  2. TomK

    Should Gen Patraeus have resigned? It was his choice to make. Obviously he considered it a matter of 'family importance' and did what he felt best. BUT....should adultery be considered a crime in the military? The military is not civilian society. They live with a very different set of standards and some deemed 'untouchable'. Honor is just one. The military needs these standards if they are to succeed in doing what they do. Like it or not, the vast majority of those in the services live by those rigid and sometimes draconian standards and want it that way. They are proud of them, as they should be.

    November 27, 2012 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  3. Ken

    From the story: "Only 40% believe that the inaccurate statements that administration officials initially made about the Benghazi attack were an attempt to deliberately mislead the public. Fifty-four percent think those inaccurate statements reflected what the White House believed to be true at the time." And those 54% are the same people whose childern are now in the lowest 50% of understanding of science in math in global testing (IE .. over 50% of kids around the world are better at math and science than US kids). The same people who bought homes they could not afford on short term ARM's leading to the housing collapse under the expectation that housing always goes up in value. I could go on and on with this. But with an American public that has consistently shown an inability to make good decisions, is it no wonder 54% of them can't connect the dots, even when given to them in testimony to Congress. No wonder America is in decline.

    November 27, 2012 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  4. ATL Guy

    Republicans and Faux News could care less about this poll. They'll keep beating the Benghazi drum because they think they can use it to sully the President's national security accomplishments. The public wouldn't follow them and have probably already moved on. On Faux News however they're going to keep pushing this story to rile up the Republican base. It's the same playbook that they've been using the for the last four years. Get everyone riled up and hopefully your ratings and sales would stay high.

    November 27, 2012 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  5. me123me

    It was 100% no doubt about it a coverup not ever the slightest doubt about it. If you cant see that your not the brightest bulb. Obama covered it up for political reasons to avoid the bad press. Of course he never will get bad press as you can see from this article.

    November 27, 2012 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  6. Tony S

    Is this story meant to relay facts or help paint opinion? I honestly cannot tell if CNN is a news agency or a Bureau of information.

    November 27, 2012 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  7. holspark

    I don't believe adultery should be a crime, but Folks, this is the head of the CIA. This is not Tom at the grocery store. If you can't keep it in your pants, and are this devious and make misrepresentaitons and falsehoods to your Wife, I DO NOT want you IN CHARGE of the CIA. Lying to me is easy compared to lying to your Wife.

    November 27, 2012 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  8. Qoheleth

    What's wrong with this generation?where Amanda makes his bed should be his and only his problem alone

    November 27, 2012 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  9. triker44

    Those who think they see no harm in Petreaus's extramarital affair aparently do not believe in the Tem Comandments or in moral discpline. They, and many others in this country have turned their backs on G-d! :-((

    November 27, 2012 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  10. Scottt01

    I could care less about Petraeus' gaff but, Congress needs to take legal action aqainst Obama over Benghazi...and lets start with the video lie; did Obama cook up the video story as an ace up his sleeve prior to the attack happening?

    November 27, 2012 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  11. Michael McCollum

    More damn polls from CNN that demonstrate what is already known....half of Americans are stupid, don't care about facts, and parrot whatever their FoxNews liars tell them; especially when it is anti-Obama.

    November 27, 2012 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  12. SlingNDoo

    " public doesn't believe the Obama administration intentionally tried to mislead Americans on the September attack"... Another CNN poll no doubt. He did intentionally mislead us because of the election. SHEEP!

    November 27, 2012 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  13. niknak

    Just gotta have a poll on everything.
    How would Americans ever be able to think for themselves without one?

    November 27, 2012 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  14. Sam

    Majority doesn't think the Obama adminstration tried to mislead on Bengazi? Ignorance is bliss I guess. That's all he Obama administration did and the media, especially CNN covered for him (see Candy Crowley's moderation of the 2nd debate where she helped Obama lie).

    November 27, 2012 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  15. Steve

    This survey means nothing. CNN is a liberal slanted company who will find no fault in anything Obamba or his administration does or doesn't do.

    November 27, 2012 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  16. Steve

    But of course, the facts are not known. An investigation is underway and when its findings are released, then we can have a discussion. Until then, everything is just speculation.

    November 27, 2012 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  17. Sully

    So according to CNN, a "recent poll" says that 52% of Americans give obama a "thumbs up." REALLY?!? Was this "recent poll" call "The Presidential Election?" Sometimes it scares me what passes for "news" these days.

    November 27, 2012 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  18. Tony S

    What I'm saying is ... Please go find out and then tell us. Please! Without an aggressive, free press that investigates, we are lost.

    November 27, 2012 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  19. Bill

    A poll. That settles it. I have been shown the correct way to think. Thank you, CIA-I mean CNN.

    November 27, 2012 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  20. byron alllen

    They don't see the cover-up because the news media has failed to do its job. The cover-up is worse than Watergate. OBAMA LIED,, RICE LIED, CARNEY LIED. There was never an issue with a video, it was all a lie presented to Americans because Obama thought a terrorist attack would ruin his talking point about Al Qaeda being on the run, which it is not. He needs to explain why he let the Americans die and flew off to Vegas instead of doing his job.

    November 27, 2012 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  21. tomasina

    Ah c'mon.... this was the biggest cover-up / scandal in history !! and I am a loyal dem and say that. Prez should simply say: hey, my fault, I screwed up ... misled the media and the people to protect my re-election campaign. Americans would then just shrug it off. Instead he keeps digging himself a deeper hole.

    November 27, 2012 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  22. Sandy

    I wonder what the poll would be had republicans not tried to politicize this so much. Same thing with the health care law. People didn't like it because of all the demonizing of the bill that republicans did before it was even passed.

    November 27, 2012 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  23. Chris Whitis

    It does not matter what polls you conduct, your "Far Left" news organization will cover up Obama's lies everytime. I wonder why Fox beats you into the ground every month on ratings.

    November 27, 2012 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  24. ardale

    The GOP song remains the same: Whitewater, Vince Foster, Monica, Impeachment, Birth Certificate, Death Panels, Benghazi.......

    November 27, 2012 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  25. Michael

    CNN can never be un-biased in any of its Reporting. What a joke organization. How about conclude the article, "The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International from November 16-18, with 1,023 DEMOCRATIC PARTY adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 100% percentage points.

    November 27, 2012 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
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