CNN Poll: Did White House order IRS targeting?
June 18th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
10 months 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. VMG

    Who cares what the polls say if the opinions are based on inuendos and half truths. Let the investigation take it's full course so that we can learn the truth and then act on it accordingly.

    June 18, 2013 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  2. imagine

    What people think is the truth should not be news. What a reporter investigates and determines IS the truth should be news.

    June 18, 2013 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  3. FubarObama

    This is probably the biggest scandal and attAck on our constitution by any Administration... And to think the divider in chief who occupies the White House was supposedly a constitutional lawyer makes it more sad.

    June 18, 2013 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  4. JAKE

    The results of this poll are surprising only to CNN and the rest of the MSM. The people are awakening, maybe the media should do the same and actually do investigative journalism again.

    June 18, 2013 07:01 am at 7:01 am |
  5. Goshkruse

    Instead of investigative journalism but looking for facts, CNN creates their own story by making a random poll newsworthy. CNN is slowly becoming FOX, tabloid journalism to propagate its news. What's next, a Sarah Palin opinion column?

    June 18, 2013 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  6. People are Out Of Touch with reality

    everyone knows it was the obama administration, but its impossible to find the smoking gun or a link to the wanna be dictator, but all these scandals just add fuel to the Storm that is brewing.

    June 18, 2013 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  7. Don

    NSA
    Exposing Government corruption that concerns people in power, has always been difficult and extremely risky. Power gives these individuals means to discredit and minimize any whistleblower. Now with the vast amount of information gathered on American citizens by Prism, we are all in danger. Government Zealots are now able to pick and choose who they wish to destroy, (as the Internal Revenue Services is doing.) Though the Boston bombers utilized cell, email and other electronic media, NSA, CIA and Homeland Security was completely clueless about these Muslim terrorist. (Even after Russia warned our CIA.) This huge intelligence gathering on ALL American citizens, is mostly for Political reasons to be used by Political Zealots. As in "Pandora's" box this intelligence will never be controlled.

    June 18, 2013 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  8. Bob Havecker

    I am sure that Tea Party members were not targeted any more than Communists were once targeted 60 or 70 years ago. Suck it up if you want to try to tear this country down and be an obstruction to any and all progress. I am sure they can find somewhere else in this world to live!

    June 18, 2013 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  9. jacksragingcommonsense

    Why is a CNN poll the lead news story of the morning using a headline making it look like fact? You have outdone yourself CNN.

    June 18, 2013 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  10. Jesse Franklin

    Anyone can believe anything but where are the hardcore facts? So where is the real evidence to support such believing?

    June 18, 2013 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  11. Free Man in the Republic of Texas

    We
    Would NEVER EVER sick The IRS on OUR political enemies
    TRUST "ME"

    PUBLIC UNIONS FOREVER
    Hope & Change
    Yes WE Can

    Did "I" TELL you that "I" AM just too AWESOME !!!

    FORWARD >>> >>> >>> >>> >>> >>>
    ALL of america can be like DETROIT

    NOW...
    Let's ALL sing Hymn # 3
    What a friend WE have in THE IRS

    PS
    WE
    Take the 5th

    June 18, 2013 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  12. sherri

    The lady that invoked her 5th made it look bad on the White House. Like they say down south, if it looks like, walks like, smells like..... it probably is.

    June 18, 2013 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  13. Sam

    The lies the left tells it is astonishing they tout this nonsense with a straight face

    June 18, 2013 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  14. Rozzie

    wow, are you guys ever going right-wing on your 'reporting!' you don't even have all the facts but you are already jumping to conlusions! slow down and keep your readers!We already have one Fox and that is too much! You used to be more trustworthy and unbiased. well, moey talks and b-it walks, right? c'mon, go back to fairnes like before!!!

    June 18, 2013 07:06 am at 7:06 am |
  15. Seth

    Of course they did. This is a no brainer.

    June 18, 2013 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  16. Glenn

    Let me guess which half that is.

    June 18, 2013 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  17. Ho Hum

    Who watches the watchers? Why is secrecy an excuse to cover up government abuses? IRS, NSA and God know how many others. I think this is only the tip of the iceberg. Obama had better grab this and the only thing I see as redemption is to get the NSA and others under control and repeal the un-Patriot Act. The more the Gov tries to demonize Snowden, the more I'm convinced there is way more abuses here that is being covered up. The government, Obama is rightly losing the trust of the people. This is what happens when the government turns to tyrant. The people are not easily fooled. Conservatives...GO TO HELL where you belong!

    June 18, 2013 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  18. Steve

    "Congressional sources on both sides say that interviews with IRS workers so far have found no political conspiracy."

    Of course they didn't. That's how conspiracies work. And in this case, the conspiracy is waaaaay more plausible than the official story. Hence the poll numbers.

    June 18, 2013 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  19. aCriticalEye

    I clicked ont the link that said "IRS tied to White House". I though, NO... rally. i had been away for a couple of days, so I kind of lost the picture. i get to the article and it is only a poll, but burried within it says no link has been made.
    So who ever the journalist is who wrote the head lines is clearly trying to incite. No link was made, but that was not what brought me to the article.

    June 18, 2013 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  20. McBob79

    They believe it because its obvious.

    June 18, 2013 07:12 am at 7:12 am |
  21. Dr. Wilhelm Walbeck IV

    In the past we could expect CNN and other news outlets to do some investigative journalism to root out corruption and inform the public. It is disappointing to see your headline-for-simpletons approach, in which you report on uninformed opinions in a way that advances that unproven message. If the White House was involved, the press should uncover evidence and present it to the American people. If not, your leading headlines shouldn't make us think the White House is complicit in this. CNN: raise the bar for yourselves.

    June 18, 2013 07:12 am at 7:12 am |
  22. Nobody Cares

    Darn liberal media only reporting pro-Obama stories!

    June 18, 2013 07:12 am at 7:12 am |
  23. GI Joe

    Polls don't count. I WANT EVIDENCE, WHICH, I believe, will never be found.

    Listen to FOX or Alex Jones, or Glenn Beck - you'll see where the 'OPINION' is coming from.

    Darrell "Mr Car Theft" Issa has done his best to prove something that I don't believe can or will be proven.

    June 18, 2013 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  24. Mr Bean

    "CNN poll: Barely half of U.S. favors Senate immigration bill."
    "Nearly half of the American public believes the White House was behind the IRS targeting of conservative political groups".

    "Barely Half" vs. "Nearly Half" Gotta love the way propaganda works.

    June 18, 2013 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  25. kamarasune

    Yep pretty much . At least that seems to be the going thoughts in my community.

    June 18, 2013 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
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