Poll: Americans divided on Benghazi accounts, but many not watching
May 13th, 2013
04:37 PM ET
11 months ago

Poll: Americans divided on Benghazi accounts, but many not watching

(CNN) - Americans are split over whether the Obama administration has been honest or dishonest about the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, according to a new poll out Monday.

The Pew Research Center conducted the survey between Thursday and Sunday as new developments emerged about what top State Department and White House officials knew and when.

But the poll also finds that many people have not been the story.

More than half - 56% - of those surveyed said they were not at all following the congressional hearings or coverage of the developments, while 44% said they were following it very or fairly closely. That's down from the 61% who said they were tracking the story last October, just weeks after the attacks.

Four in ten said the Obama administration had generally been dishonest when addressing the attack and 37% viewed the Obama administration as honest.

A significantly larger portion of Republicans see dishonesty in the administration with seven in ten saying the Obama administration has been dishonest. Independents' views split 48% dishonest and 30% honest.

Republicans are also following the story more closely than Democrats or independents, the poll found.

Sixty percent of Democrats said Republicans have gone too far in congressional hearings into the matter.

The poll included 1,000 American adults contacted by telephone between May 9 and May 12. The overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.

– CNN's Gregory Wallace contributed to this report


Filed under: Libya • Polls
soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    PPP polls showed 41% of GOPers/Teatrolls think this is "the biggest scandal in American history."

    31% could answer the follow up question correctly...."where is Benghazi?"

    May 13, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    oops, left out a "not" haha

    PPP polls showed 41% of GOPers/Teatrolls think this is "the biggest scandal in American history."

    31% could NOT answer the follow up question correctly...."where is Benghazi?"

    May 13, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  3. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    Hey CNN and gop, we don't care, what about 9-11 2001 when the gop was 100% at fault .assa why don't you hold a hearing about that, gop morons!!!!

    May 13, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  4. Liberal Sense (Or lack thereof)

    Not watching = ignorance

    May 13, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  5. Ed1

    The people not watching must still be drinking the Kool Aid because Obama could never do anything wrong and yes he can walk on water too.

    May 13, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  6. Tom

    Pretty much that says people who watch Fox News, are watching 24X7 coverage of Benghazi, everyone else is hearing a little bit about it. The strong split along party lines suggests that virtually no one sees this as a legitimate attempt to understand what actually happened in Benghazi - Democrats see it as a witch hunt, Republicans see it as a quest for a smoking gun to score points against Democrats. It's pretty sad because if we really attempted to objectively figure out what went wrong in Benghazi (without all the partisan finger pointing) the country might be better off.

    May 13, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  7. Ronnie

    Obama still covering up the Benghazi deaths while his hands are covered in blood, how dare he play politics blaming the GOP. Obama must release all e-mails now, allow the survivers to testify, stop intimidating witnesses and share all memos between agency's. This is a cover up that will not go away anytme soon, to many lies and to many dead boidies for him to bury.

    May 13, 2013 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  8. Lynda/Minnesota

    "More than half – 56% – of those surveyed said they were not at all following the congressional hearings or coverage of the developments, while 44% said they were following it very or fairly closely. That's down from the 61% who said they were tracking the story last October, just weeks after the attacks."

    I'm guessing more than 56% are NOT following the congressional hearings or coverage of these four months running same old same old developments.

    Cable news ratings are down and have been for a few years now, suggesting most Americans have gotten beyond the political bickering so prevalent in today's media market.

    Even at it's peak in 2008, cable news was getting a very, very small percentage of "viewers" and although vocal these viewers may be, I doubt those being polled represent much of anything, let alone the "pulse of America".

    May 13, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  9. Janie

    So it's about ratings, not the truth

    May 13, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  10. Leftcoastrocky

    The 20% of Americans who watch Fox News are fascinated by Benghazi - the rest of America has taken a look at the facts and decided that Issa is just playing politics and is wasting America's time

    May 13, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "an act of terror is different than a terrorist attack"
    -Darrel Issa, 5/13/13

    BWAHAHAHA...semantic games is all they have left? The last retreat of those without a substantive argument. Too funny. Game over, GOPers/Teatrolls. You lost this one. Better luck trying to spin the IRS thing beyond a couple of rogue employees not doing their jobs honestly.

    May 13, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "Not watching = ignorance"

    Depends on what you watch. Seeing as how polls show that Faux News viewers are less informed than those who DON'T WATCH ANY NEWS, it would pretty much put the lie to your claim there. In the case of Faux News, it appears to be the exact opposite: watching it causes ignorance.

    May 13, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  13. Liberal Sense (Or lack thereof)

    The democrats are loosing left and right.

    They can't handle the truth apparently.

    May 13, 2013 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  14. Larry L

    @Sniffit

    oops, left out a "not" haha

    PPP polls showed 41% of GOPers/Teatrolls think this is "the biggest scandal in American history."

    31% could NOT answer the follow up question correctly...."where is Benghazi?"
    ==============================
    Your correction was unnecessary. In no way could 69% of the Tearolls locate Benghazi on the map. Seriously, I'll bet not 5% of that population of mouth-breathing, slack-jawed, fearful, xenophobic bigots could find Libya on the map.

    May 13, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  15. Liberal Sense (Or lack thereof)

    The administration has literally had enough time to manufacture their truth.

    May 13, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  16. Randy, San Francisco

    The Benghazi attack is a polarizing issue because Republicans and Tea Partiers decided to politicize it. There should be an investigation but not not for political reasons.

    May 13, 2013 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  17. Andy

    Granted, FOX News and FOX commentaries are the main source of information but now CNN, Associated Press, New York Times (guest columnist), Washington Post (some), ABC, and the White House press corps are now on the story. MSNBC, CBS, NBC? nnahh. They don't think political cover ups and failures to protect our diplomats and failure to TRY to implement some kind of rescue are not worth the time. Look to have some more whistleblowers add to the cacophony from State Dept and CIA, which are at each other's throats on this one!! Jay Carney's days are numbered at a small number and so is some more low ranking folks. But the Prez and Hillary will continue to skip and dance to a diffident tune, saying it wasn't them that had anything to do with anything bad. By the way, did any of the main stream media give President G. Bush a hard time with his staying on that stage for a few minutes and then being out of touch with them for a few hours after the planes struck us? You bet they did. Now are these same news outlets asking our Prez why he didn't initiate the Situation Room after the consulate was attacked? And why we have no one who says they spoke to him after 5PM? Where was he? Practicing his campaign speech for the next day, I think. He likes the job but doesn't want the work. What a great campaigner and poor President he is.

    May 13, 2013 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  18. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ Lynda/ Minnesota
    You and I both know that there is nothing to see here my friend. Nothing but more of the same persecution of this administration and/or case building to tear Hillary down with when she runs in 2016. As if that bs would fly or work in the face of reason and an electorate that has had it up to here (pick your here, mine is south somewhere near the ying-yang area!).
    Meanwhile I was not allowed to tell you how hard you had me laughing at your response to Ray last Thursday regarding Cheney being reduced to hiding in a bunker, and Duhbya to painting pictures in the shower (paraphrased)!!
    Talk about BAM! And down goes Frazier!! Good job girlfriend!!!
    LOL!

    May 13, 2013 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  19. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Didn't finish my sentence: An electorate that has had it up to here with a self-broiling, self-emolating, GOP.

    May 13, 2013 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  20. John

    Does anyone recall any of the 13 "Benghazi's" during GW Bush's terms? Jan 02, June 02, Oct 02, Feb 03, May 03, July 04, Dec 04, Mar 06, Sept 06, June 07, July 08, and Sept 08....77 total dead at the embassies and more than 200 dead just outside of embassies based on embassy attack....India, Karachi (twice), Balai, Riyadh, Tashkent, Jedda, Damascus, Yemen, Istabul, and Yemen..........DID THE GOP CONGRESS EVER HAVE ANY HEARINGS INTO THESE 13 Embassy attacks?
    ..................................................yep, you got it correct,....no complaints, no investigations, no finger pointing......

    May 13, 2013 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  21. freedom

    The floodgates are about to open, and polls won't matter. The facts will speak for themselves – and there will be consequences.

    May 13, 2013 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  22. Liberal Sense (Or lack thereof)

    Excusing Obama because someone else did something wrong.

    Great argument (sarcasm).

    May 13, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  23. vickster

    Maybe more than half aren't following the story because more than half of the media does not cover it.

    May 13, 2013 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  24. Lynda/Minnesota

    @Dominican mama: Meanwhile I was not allowed to tell you ...

    Yeah. There has been a lot of that going around lately. One in five (on a good day).

    Ying-yang works for me ... LOL!

    May 13, 2013 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  25. Colorado

    The poll included 1,000 American adults contacted by telephone between May 9 and May 12.
    ---------------------------------------------

    You guys still do not get it. The people responsible for electing the POTUS, DO NOT HAVE LAND LINES!!!!

    Please GOP, come with me into the 21st century.

    May 13, 2013 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
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