CNN Poll: Did White House order IRS targeting?
June 18th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
1 year ago

CNN Poll: Did White House order IRS targeting?

Updated 8:01 a.m. ET, Tuesday, 6/18

Washington (CNN) – A growing number of Americans believe that senior White House officials ordered the Internal Revenue Service to target conservative political groups, according to a new national poll.

And a CNN/ORC International survey released Tuesday morning also indicates that a majority of the public says the controversy, which involves increased IRS scrutiny of tea party and other conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, is very important to the nation.

Republicans argue that the Obama administration used the IRS to intimidate and harass political opponents. Democrats say poor management at the tax agency, rather than political bias, is to blame. Congressional sources on both sides say that interviews with IRS workers so far have found no evidence of political dealings by the White House. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, touting an independent IRS inspector general report, has said the scrutiny appears to have originated with "IRS officials in Cincinnati," where the agency's tax exempt division is centered.

GOP tries to keep focus on IRS targeting scandal

Last month only 37% of the public thought that the IRS controversy led to the White House, with 55% saying that agency officials acted on their own without direct orders from Washington. Now the number who say the White House directed that IRS program has increased 10 points, to 47%, virtually the same as the 49% who believe the IRS agents acted on their own.

"Younger Americans are much less likely than older Americans to believe in White House involvement, and there is, not surprisingly, a partisan divide as well," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "But the Obama administration may be losing independents on this matter. In May, only 36% felt the White House ordered the IRS to target conservative groups; now that number has crossed the 50% threshold."

Fifty-one percent of those questioned said the IRS controversy is a very important issue to the nation, compared to 55% who felt that way in May. In the past week and a half, the IRS story has been put a bit on the backburner, as the controversy over the federal government's massive surveillance program has dominated the spotlight.

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International June 11-13, with 1,014 adults nationwide 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


Filed under: CNN/ORC International poll • IRS • White House
soundoff (726 Responses)
  1. BinFL

    @Cindy – Unemployment U6 16.9%, when obama started 9%
    89,000,000 people no longer in the work force
    Food stamp usage UP
    Uninsured UP
    Boots on the ground in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, North Africa, Sryia
    Home ownership down
    Foreclosures highest in history
    Where is the turn around, in your dreams?
    _____________________________________________
    Well, if you get your "facts" from Faux News then I can understand. As I said, we should have gone into another Great Depression so you haters would really have something to complain about. Also, if you think the recovery was going to happen in less than 5 years then it is you who lives in a bubble. This is going to be a long, slow turnaround especially with jobs, however it would be much quicker and more robust if your stupid obstructionist in the House would work on jobs & the economy instead of taking away a woman's right to choose and overturning Obamacare. I really do believe you all wish Obama was a dictator because then he could pass his jobs bill by himself!!!!

    June 18, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  2. sue

    The tone and the deed was from O. Go get my enemies,his favorite words.

    June 18, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  3. cb

    Yakobi

    "Younger Americans are much less likely than older Americans to believe in White House involvement..."

    That's because older Americans are typically naive, stupid, uninformed, and get all their news from Fox News.

    FIFY

    and I'm not a younger voter.

    June 18, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  4. HUSSEINGETSTHEBLAME

    this administration has done nothing more or less than any other administration throughout our history..power corrupts them all..the upcoming boondoggle to Africa could provide 60 million dollars to education or our veterans instead of socializing with some of the most tyrannical governments in the Thrid World.

    June 18, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  5. Tired of it

    Do we have to wait until the next election to get them out?

    June 18, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  6. Monica

    If there's wrongdoing, there's wrongdoing. But believe me, this issue cuts both ways. The "tea party" folks are sneaky. When they were forming their party, they called it the "independent" party to get more people to sign up who inadvertently thought it was an independent party! I would be wary of playing the "blame game" here, folks. And I highly doubt this was a high priority w the White House! CNN, Your politics lately have been way off. Im not a "young person". Was a republican for YEARS until Bush came along. Obama may not be perfect, but believe me, he's been a much better president than Bush. Sadly, he seems to be getting it from both extreme sides of the aisle. But nobody polled me, CNN, and I bet 100% of us "centrists" would agree...Most of this stuff is "Much Ado About Nothing" just to win votes in the 2014 election. What a lot of BS and grabbing for straws. No WONDER a lot of folks don't bother voting in this country!!

    June 18, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  7. ShawnDH

    Ratt cried: "Anyone who thinks they didn't is a tool."
    ______________________

    Wrong. Tools are the ones who blindly believe in imaginary scandals based on nothing. Why don't you tell us all specifically what you are talking about that ties this incident to the White House?

    Obviously you know something that has not been disclosed, not even in the "investigation" transcripts that have just been released in full...you know...the ones Issa was desperately trying to block. Why don't you read those transcripts instead of blindly believing what you're told my the GOP scandal-mongering machine and FoxNews? You could become a more informed voter.

    June 18, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  8. yaf

    if you think obama had anythign to do with turning the economy around, you're a fool.

    June 18, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  9. David

    What everyone seems to be overlooking is that political groups cannot receive tax exempt status.

    The IRS was doing their job. Albeit, they seem to have been looking for conservative groups and not liberal ones – that's what the issue should be focusing on. How many liberal groups breezed through while the conservative ones were scrutinized more closely?

    The Citizens United decision is a crime unto itself.

    June 18, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  10. Another Joe

    If you are willing to go past your bias, based on information that's publicly available, logic will give you all the right answers. It's just very difficult to believe in so many coincidences.

    June 18, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  11. BinFL

    @TXPHarm – After two years of Obama railing about the rich, MY taxes went up
    ________________________________________
    What exactly made your taxes go up? Income went down due to the temporary payroll tax cut ending but that was to be expected as it was TEMPORARY, unlike the Bush tax cuts that were meant to be temporary but the Repubs wanted to make permanent. The effects of Obamacare are yet to be seen but if some things in the bill are not working properly then they should be fixed – not repeal of the entire thing but fix the parts that need fixing. I'm sure Social Security had a lot of kinks when it was first implemented. As far as employer provided healthcare, companies have been trying to avoid this for years, long before Obamacare. Insurance premiums have been rising year after year...this isn't anything new. If Congress would concentrate on fixing what is broken instead of all these ridiculous witchhunts this country may get somewhere.

    June 18, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  12. Dan

    Great article, CNN.....NOT. No facts or data, just the opinions of polls. That is more than worthless. We want you to dig and to get the truth...not tell us the opinions of other people.

    June 18, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  13. snowdogg

    "Congressional sources on both sides say that interviews with IRS workers so far have found no evidence of political dealings by the White House."

    Says it all.

    June 18, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  14. ShawnDH

    yaf cried: "if you think obama had anythign to do with turning the economy around, you're a fool."
    __________________

    You're an even bigger fool if you don't see that Republican policies are responsible for tanking the economy in the first place. Under Obama, the economy has improved. That's what I clearly see.

    June 18, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  15. ShawnDH

    Tired of it wrote: "Do we have to wait until the next election to get them out?"
    _______________

    Yes, and we will vote Republicans out of Congress in 2014.

    June 18, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  16. steve hanna

    Let's just follow all the threads and find out where it leads us. I do not believe we have seen enough to know one way or the other. One thing is certain, the story is evolving, remember the two guys in Cincinnati story.

    June 18, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  17. HarvTy

    Chicago style politics, folks. Obama was inexperienced and illequipped to be president. Media bears some guilt for protecting him, asking soft questions and failing to do serious investigative reporting. Scandal and corruption abound to cover and protect the power that should not be. Folks need to get their heads out of their behinds and look clearly at facts, demand honesty in reporting and refuse to let personal liberties be trampled upon simply on a promise that nothing untoward is going on. He does not have a very good track record on keeping promises.

    June 18, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  18. ShawnDH

    sue whined: "The tone and the deed was from O. Go get my enemies,his favorite words."
    _____________

    What specifically are you basing this on, and when exactly did Obama say "his favorite words?"

    Also, there is nothing wrong with the IRS screening the nonprofit applications of political groups...none of which were even declined. Some "scandal" huh?

    June 18, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  19. ShawnDH

    The funniest part of this whole non-scandal is that none of the supposedly scrutinized applications for nonprofit status were even rejected. None! Some scandal. LOL!

    June 18, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  20. ShawnDH

    David wrote: "The IRS was doing their job. Albeit, they seem to have been looking for conservative groups and not liberal ones – that's what the issue should be focusing on. How many liberal groups breezed through while the conservative ones were scrutinized more closely?"
    _______________________

    Zero conservative applications were rejected but a liberal group's was. So your idea that liberal groups "breezed through" does not hold up.

    June 18, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  21. bjnj

    These people at the white house are unbelievable. What happened to the buck stops here. They hired/appointed these IRS people. AUTHORITY=RESPONSIBILITY. If Obama wants the AUTHORITY over the IRS, he must take the RESPONSIBILITY . BJNJ

    June 18, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  22. BinFL

    @yaf – if you think obama had anythign to do with turning the economy around, you're a fool.
    _______________________________________
    Yet, if it happened under a Repub President you would be praising him and calling for him to be on Mt. Rushmore. Just like if the killing of Osama Bin Laden happened under a Repub President that would have been praised by the "lamestream" media for weeks on end. Instead, even though it was an historic event and the world rejoiced over the news, it was only covered on our great media for about 24 hours. But these non-scandals are covered for months on end!

    June 18, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  23. Scott

    From the article: A growing number of Americans believe that senior White House officials ordered the Internal Revenue Service to target conservative political groups, according to a new national poll.

    Hmmm, appears that Dear Leader is losing ground on its latest lie. BoBo's teleprompter must be working overtime to cook up more lies.

    Scott

    June 18, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  24. cb

    ShawnDH

    The funniest part of this whole non-scandal is that none of the supposedly scrutinized applications for nonprofit status were even rejected. None! Some scandal. LOL!

    -
    Exactly. And if you go read the tax law, these organizations are allowed to proceed while their applications are being reviewed as long as they conform to the law, and file the required paperwork.

    June 18, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  25. terryrayc

    I find it hard to believe that a part of the government targeted a political party before an election and it's not politically motivated. When did the democrats decide the American people were stupid?

    June 18, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30