CNN Poll: Majority dissatisfied but don't think administration misled on Benghazi attack
December 19th, 2012
12:00 PM ET
2 years ago

CNN Poll: Majority dissatisfied but don't think administration misled on Benghazi attack

Washington (CNN) - A slight majority of Americans are giving the White House low marks for how it has handled the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, according to a new national survey.

But a CNN/ORC International poll released Wednesday also indicates that a more solid 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.

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Only four in ten Americans believe that the inaccurate statements by administration officials in the days following the Benghazi attack were intended to deliberately mislead the public, with 56% saying those statements reflected what the Obama administration believed at the time had occurred in Libya.

"But that does not let the White House off the hook. Only 43% are satisfied with the way the Obama administration has handled the matter in the past few months; half are dissatisfied," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Poll Obama mislead

The poll was conducted Monday and Tuesday, almost entirely before the Tuesday evening release of an independent review of the September 11 attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that cited "systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies" at the State Department. The failures resulted in a security plan "that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place," the 39-page, unclassified version of the report concluded.

The poll indicates a strong partisan divide on the issue, with three-quarters of Democrats satisfied with the administration's handling of the matter, and 58% of independents and 83% of Republicans dissatisfied. Only 5% of Democrats think the administration was trying to mislead the public in the days following the attack, with independents divided and more than seven in ten Republicans saying officials were intentionally trying to mislead Americans.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International December 17-18, with 620 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Obama Benghazi Poll


Filed under: 2012 • CNN/ORC International poll
soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. some guy in New Hampshire

    Please remember that there is an investigation still under way and some of the information and knowledge about the incident might be classified. People in government don't blab all they know on TV just because the political opposition demands full details at once. And the intelligence community doesn't always tell all it knows to the UN ambassador, in part so as not to put her in a position of having to knowingly lie.

    December 19, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  2. Name lynn

    wake up stop look and listen pointing fingers at people that is not how to solve problems

    December 19, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  3. tammarella

    Well now we know the truth via the report that was just released. If anyone still doesn't think this administration lied to make it appear that we had our middle east problems under control prior to the election must be living in a cave in afghanistan.

    December 19, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  4. John

    Interesting that Ambassador Chris Steven's sister (and best friend) Anne does not fault the White House/administration for Chris's death, but questions why the GOP lead House cut Obama's foreign embassy security budget request by 135 million in 2011 and by a whopping 300 million in 2012....you want a controversy? there is one for you..........

    December 19, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  5. Helen Walton

    This protest about the attack in Benghazi is the start of attempts to discredit Hillary Clinton because she is a threat for the presidential election of 2016.

    December 19, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  6. A Patriot

    I think it's well understand that Obama twists things to make himself look good – he is quite arrogant in that regard. He claims to have "achieved" (sometimes almost personally) anything good that happens in this country. For instance, he claims to have killed Osama – never mind that it was 10 years of intelligence gathering (with the initial lead provided by waterboarding) that led to him. Another example is the resurging oil production in this country – he claims that too. In reality it is the private sector, developing shale oil on private land (despite increasing regulation) that has provided the boom. Obama slowed gulf oil leases, has tried to kill the coal industry and would not work to put a pipeline in place that would have directly employed 20K people. Obama is good at talking (when he has a teleprompter) and says the fluffy feel good stuff well. As far as Benghazi, he's been like teflon, no acceptance or acknowledgment of judgment lapses when he is the CIC and 4 people were killed on his watch. In other words, not really much of a leader. I think his long term legacy is going to be terrible – mediocre – to – poor economy, failed health care, balloning debt, loss of US influence in most of the middle east.... we'll see – he does know how to run up debt and print money

    December 19, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  7. alien

    Usually when the right screams and stomps their feet on a certain subject like withholding imformation, etc. They are the ones usually hiding something you can bet on it.

    December 19, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
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