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