Are you paying attention to the IRS and Benghazi controversies?
May 17th, 2013
10:06 AM ET
11 months ago

Are you paying attention to the IRS and Benghazi controversies?

Washington (CNN) - Around half the public is tuned in to the controversies that are consuming the nation's capital, according to a new poll.

But the Gallup survey indicates party affiliation is playing a role in how closely people are keeping an eye on the controversies. And according to the poll, most say further investigation is needed.

Fifty-four percent of Americans say they've very or somewhat closely watched the news that the Internal Revenue Service applied greater scrutiny to conservative political groups that applied for tax exempt status. Twenty-two percent said they were not following the news that closely and just under one in four are not watching that closely.

About the same percentage of Americans are tuned into the congressional hearings into last September's attack in Benghazi, which left the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans dead. According to the poll, 53% were very or somewhat closely watching, with 22% not following the news that closely and just under a quarter not watching at all.

"Despite extensive news coverage of these stories in recent days, the level of attention being paid to each is below the average 60% of Americans who have closely followed more than 200 news stories Gallup has measured over the past several decades," says a release by Gallup. "Additionally, Americans appear to be paying almost exactly the same levels of attention to both stories, despite the relative newness of the IRS story during the time in which this survey was in the field."

There's a big partisan divide over who's watching.

Two-thirds of Republicans said they were very or somewhat closely watching IRS and Benghazi controversies. That number drops to the low to mid fifties for independents and the low to mid forties for Democrats questioned in the survey.

Nearly three quarters agree that the IRS controversy needs to be investigated, with 69% feeling the same thing about the Benghazi situation. But as with who's watching, there's a wide partisan divide over the need for further investigation.

The Gallup poll was conducted Tuesday and Wednesday with 1,022 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


Filed under: IRS • Polls • President Obama
soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. The Real Tom Paine

    Why bother watching Issa do a bad Sam Ervin impression? This is not designed to get at the truth any more than the usual Congressional hearings: its solely to get the base fired up and thinking they are victims. The GOP, the party of the permanant persecution complex.

    May 17, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  2. Sniffit

    "Is there a way to measure how much time Congressional Repubs. spend trying attacking Obama vs. trying to solve Immigration, Common Sense Gun Control, the Economy(Jobs, jobs, jobs)."

    Well, we know the latter is near ZERO, so it pretty much doesn't matter what number you plug in for the former.

    May 17, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  3. The Real Tom Paine

    -Malory Archer

    Sniffit

    Benghazi isn't a controversy anymore. The controversy is that the GOP/Teatrolls doctored emails and LITERALLY fabricated quotes, then fed them to the MSM, which then uncritically and without checking published it all as though it was absolutely true and to be believed without question.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    More like a reporter for ABC literally fabricated emails – cherry picking and cutting & pasting to create a damning narrative. In addition to serious jail time he should be blacklisted by any news organization that wishes to be considered credible.
    ***************
    Priebus would hire him, if FOX does not snap him up first.

    May 17, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  4. just sayin

    that's about the same with any story that doesn't involve sex or some celebrity. half of the american people are clueless and uninformed by their own choice. most of them are democrat voters.

    May 17, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  5. PaulCat

    I agree. The more investigations we have, the more we can say:
    ................Hillary "2016".............

    May 17, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  6. g

    republicans are still on the bridge to no where

    May 17, 2013 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  7. MaryM

    Yep The GOP, with their foot in mouth desease and faux(fox) news followers. The GOP thinks wasting the taxpayers money on false investigations will win them elections. They are very wrong. The majority of the American people are on to their crap and will not vote for them.

    May 17, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  8. Thomas

    It's time to send Issa and Cruz to Kenya to find out the truth about Obama being born in Hawaii !

    We want the truth , where is the birth certificate , how did his mother get to the hospital , these are important questions the American people need to know !

    May 17, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  9. MaryM

    Yep The GOP, with their foot in mouth disease and faux(fox) news followers. The GOP thinks wasting the taxpayers money on false investigations will win them elections. They are very wrong. The majority of the American people are on to their crap and will not vote for them.

    May 17, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  10. jonnyg

    "You were talking earlier about kind of dismissing the Benghazi issue as one that's just political and the president recently said it's a sideshow," said Woodward. "But if you read through all these e-mails, you see that everyone in the government is saying, 'Oh, let's not tell the public that terrorists were involved, people connected to al Qaeda. Let's not tell the public that there were warnings.' I hate to show, this is one of the documents with the editing that one of the people in the state department said, 'Oh, let's not let these things out.' And I have to go back 40 years to Watergate when Nixon put out his edited transcripts to the conversations, and he personally went through them and said, 'Oh, let's not tell this, let's not show this.' I would not dismiss Benghazi. It's a very serious issue. As people keep saying, four people were killed. You look at the hydraulic pressure that was in the system to not tell the truth, and, you know, we use this term and the government uses this term, talking points. Talking points, as we know, are like legal briefs. They're an argument on one side. What we need to get rid of talking point and they need to put out statements or papers that are truth documents. Okay, this is all we know."

    May 17, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  11. ghostriter

    After the 5th of these "Obama's Watergate" hearings, it's kinda like watching the World Series Game 1 over and over and over and over and over again. Then expecting excitement at watching it a 6th time.

    May 17, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  12. You Have Got To Be Kidding

    This CNN article sounds like another attempt at saying "nothing to see here, move on".
    That is not going to work this time.

    May 17, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  13. Mikey

    Well, at least the IRS issue is real. It seems it should be getting more traction, but the right seems to be having a little difficulty dealing with a situation they don't have to lie about to make something of it.

    The Benghazi "scandal" is mostly right wing bull stuff. And I love it, "The President spilled a glass of milk this morning. Impeach him!!!!!" LOL

    And speaking of LOL – @just sayin – Are you a 'democrat voter'?

    May 17, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  14. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Ummmm, NO! I don't pay attention to fabricated stories intended for the disruption of governance. However, it does make good tv and I'm sure it's good for the MSM's ratings. I know those nuts at Fox are having a ball covering this nonsense.

    May 17, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  15. Richard

    Just too many controversies and scandals going on that shouldn't be. We have the IRS, AP, Benghazi, Boston Terrorist attack, Ft. Hood Terrorist attack, Times Square, North Korea, Syria – this is just plain crazy. I never would have imagined problems like this. Where is the transparency? And all we have to show for this is Obamacare? I should have been awake during this last election. Where was I?

    May 17, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  16. mark jeann

    If we were told the truth, about the terrorist attack on 9/11 Benghazi why is it, that people working their, that day, are not being allowed to talk too Congress? Why is it, that the three whistleblowers that have come forth, tell a completely different story, from what this administration, told us. How many liberal groups, muslim groups were targeted by the IRS. Why is it that Barrack Obama's brother tax exempt status was rushed through! Do you really believe and think that low level people at the IRS, took it upon themselves, to commit these crimes? Someone, told them, to do it!

    May 17, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  17. The Real Tom Paine

    -just sayin

    that's about the same with any story that doesn't involve sex or some celebrity. half of the american people are clueless and uninformed by their own choice. most of them are democrat voters.
    ******************
    If they were clueless and uninformed, they would be Republicans. "Story" is the operative word for a FOX-generated story: plot would actually be closer, since theya re scripting everything to suit their narrative of how the world is. Too bad the only creative thing the GOP can do is fiction.

    May 17, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  18. GOP = Greed Over People

    Benghazi has proven to have been "leaked" by Republicans after altering the emails and the now decreased ambassador, Stevens turned down requests for additional security not once, but twice. One can only speculate on whether he did not want to take troops away from Tripoli and put in Benghazi due to reduced Congressional spending on embassy security.

    IRS was not harassing the tea baggers, just taking longer to approve their tax free exemptions, and with the GOP demanded cutbacks in employees and spending, it seems more than reasonable that this just drifted to the bottom of the IRS priority list.

    So, yes, I did follow both when they first broke, but once I determined there was no there, there, I have quit following.

    And if the GOP continues this hair on fire, faux outrage, the time will come that if the GOP is out raged, I will pass over that "conspiracy" without caring.

    You can only cry wolf so many times out here in reality, before rational folks ignore you when you open your pie hole.

    Ms. Graham and McCrypt have currently earned this honor in my universe, or as i like to say, if Lindsey's lips are flappin', it must be Sunday.

    May 17, 2013 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  19. Guy

    It is ironic that all of these scandals exploded within a span of one week. I wonder if the Obama Administration made somebody mad at the CIA?

    May 17, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  20. Unhappy citizen

    All of the uninformed individuals who voted this man into office need to pick their heads up out of the sand. The rest of us have to the live with the consequences of the election of an unqualified radical to the highest office in our nation. This administration has brought unimaginable shame to our country and we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg with all of the lies and scandals that are beginning to unfold. This administration makes Richard Nixon look like a saint. There is only so much you can cover up before the house of cards begins to fall.

    May 17, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  21. Mikey

    @Tom Paine – Seems a lot of right wingers think being misinformed is somehow better than being uninformed – so they watch FOX and listen to Rush, Beck, Savage and the like. They only believe things that support their preconceived notions and, as a result, just keep sliding farther down the rabbit hole.

    If anyone thinks the MSM has a strong slant either to the left or right it says more about them than the MSM. In order to sell the most soap, cars, and soda, the networks go for the biggest audience, and in a normally distributed population, that's in the middle!!!

    May 17, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  22. GOP = Greed Over People

    And while we are discussing credibility, citing a Gallop poll? Really?

    May 17, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  23. Lisa P.

    ghostriter

    Maybe if they didn't start each investigation with "This will be Obama's Watergate"....

    The drama factor goes away after the 4th or 5th one. It's like "House votes to repeal Obamacare" or "Republicans hate Obama". After a while, they cease to be news or newsworthy.

    Republicans are just so angry. They are like rabid WWE fans. Which makes since because this is like the WWE. The funny thing is that after 5, they all go to the same restaurants and bars, kick back and probably laugh at you folks that actually fall for this stuff.
    May 17, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    And they sad thing is that instead of doing the people's business both sides are engaged in a massive online multiplayer game of he said/she said/no I didn't/yes I did on the taxpayer's dime. Even sadder, the longer it goes on the more the useless bloviator obstructionists win and the more we all lose. The time and money they waste on this utter nonsense will never come back.

    May 17, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  24. Malory Archer

    The Real Tom Paine

    -Malory Archer

    Sniffit

    Benghazi isn't a controversy anymore. The controversy is that the GOP/Teatrolls doctored emails and LITERALLY fabricated quotes, then fed them to the MSM, which then uncritically and without checking published it all as though it was absolutely true and to be believed without question.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    More like a reporter for ABC literally fabricated emails – cherry picking and cutting & pasting to create a damning narrative. In addition to serious jail time he should be blacklisted by any news organization that wishes to be considered credible.
    ***************
    Priebus would hire him, if FOX does not snap him up first.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    LOL – yeah, and they're soooo credible!

    May 17, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
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