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. Barry bin Inhalin

    Another useless poll. The old saying 'follow the money' is in play. Just ask yourself who has an interest in blocking conservative groups entering the fold and you have your answer: The White House. That 49% still believe the agents acted on their own says there are more heroin addled, brain-dead Democrats than ever before.

    June 18, 2013 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  2. Holman Wertz

    The IRS scandal is extremely important to our nation. The executive branch of our government contains not only the IRS but the FBI and OSHA and Tobacco & Firearms. These departments performed Ridiculous Invasions of the targeted, too many to be merely coincidental. As time passes, hard drives and such can disappear. Pleading the 5th stinks.

    June 18, 2013 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  3. Monkeyman

    The other half knows it does!

    June 18, 2013 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  4. Obama Dogeater

    Of course it leads to the White House. The Obama Administration is the most corrupt in U.S. history. He considers those who disagree with him as his enemies and will do anything to destroy them.

    June 18, 2013 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  5. Jopa

    Younger voters = easy to fool

    June 18, 2013 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  6. micoz

    Americans are getting smater. You can fool them for a while, but not forever.

    June 18, 2013 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  7. TrueIndependent

    Just another Obama scandal...........move on please.

    June 18, 2013 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  8. AdrienneM

    Most "younger people" also have had limited involvement with the IRS, or years of anger at being over-taxed. They don't understand the horror of the concept of being TARGETED by this most powerful agency for POLITICAL PURPOSES.

    June 18, 2013 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  9. Tomas

    CNN's viewers were polled? The half that linked it to the White House must get their news from the new media.

    June 18, 2013 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  10. Derick Cooper

    Of course it leads to the white house. This man cheated by hiding the truth and lying and the DNC cheated at the polls on election day in order to achieve a razor thin victory. Obama is a fraud.

    June 18, 2013 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  11. Hillcoguy

    CNN Poll: Did White House order IRS targeting?
    ==================================================================
    Your darn tootin' he did......Did he want to win the election? Your darn tootin' he did! Will he pass the buck and blame someone else? Your darn tootin' he will!

    June 18, 2013 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  12. daveugber

    Well, OF COURSE it leads to the White House! Just ask WHO BENEFITS from this kind of behavior in a run up to a major election? This was thug politics and should be FULLY prosecuted all the way to the top.

    June 18, 2013 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  13. adam

    Of course the White House had involvement. Why would the IRS leak private information about tea party group to leftist organizations? (which is a felony btw)

    June 18, 2013 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  14. B. Frank

    We'll just ask questions!

    It doesn't matter that there is NO EVIDENCE.

    June 18, 2013 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  15. imahippyburning

    Gee what a concept? Lord oBUMa actually targeting his political opponents and wanting to have complete control over the mindless lemmings with the assistance of the corrupt and non existent "Fre Press" Who would have thunk it? Wake up people and watch before your eyes as the complete destruction of America as you know it is well on its way! No more do we need to have a border as the Progressive Elitists are offering free everything to the illegal invaders with the only caveat being they know how to vote "D" for DEMONcrat! And all this at the expense of the hard working, GOD fearing, Patriotic Americans who once roamed the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave! Via Con Dios Muchachos!

    June 18, 2013 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  16. DaveT

    No he didn't directly order it, he didn't have to. His administration is stacked with like minded people. The goal is typical Chicago liberal democrat politics. Destroy your opposition by any means (other than by honest debate) and the end always justifies the means.

    If anything ever called for a massive reduction in Federal government this is it. I can hardly wait until they IRS decides who gets health care based upon party affiliation or ideological beliefs.

    June 18, 2013 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  17. Billy Bob

    Like the public is going to believe a independent IRS inspector general report. Those guys are doing all they can to hide every scandal that comes up, just look at the IG report on the State Department actions while Hillary was in charge. The US Government is way too big and no one is in charge, nor does anyone want to stop it.

    June 18, 2013 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  18. i belong to know party

    of course it did but they have hid it very well

    June 18, 2013 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  19. LarryFromMO

    At first I didn't think there was White House involvement, but it's been over a month and we still do not know who initiated this practice. The idea of low level government employees doing this on their own is ridiculous. If it was a career IRS person this administration definitely would have thrown them under the bus by now. I'm starting to think this goes higher up.

    June 18, 2013 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  20. Tukoma

    Well heck, half of America is finally able to detect that which is utterly and blatantly obvious. Not bad. I hadn't held out that much hope, actually. The notion of a lucid populace in America is pretty laughable, these days.

    June 18, 2013 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  21. Don

    Valerie Jarrett and Eric Holder know ALL about this, this makes Nixon look like a candy store shoplifter. Obama had better resign pretty quick, when the Senate changes hands next fall, the Secret Service will be issuing handcuffs to the entire administration. Harry Reid is the only person standing between Obummer and Leavenworth.

    June 18, 2013 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  22. Dan

    You are all so underinformed about how the government actuall works.

    June 18, 2013 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  23. sifto

    hopefully, the truth will come out–next time it might be the left who is targeted....put that in your pipe and smoke it if you are trying to give the white house the benefit of the doubt....

    June 18, 2013 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  24. Bill

    America knows osama obama, the Marxist, muslim, lying sack of $h!t in the occupy White House movement is at the center of Fast & Furious, IRS, Benghazi, AP, Fox, Verizon, etc. scandals as well as those yet to be discovered; but he was very careful as not to leave a crumb trail to the oval office. Congress will have to look very closely and hopefully find a brave American who will "remember" and tell the truth, otherwise all osama obama has to do is "run the clock."

    June 18, 2013 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  25. Bill

    Obama losing independents? He don't care. He can't be re-elected. You low information types saw to that

    June 18, 2013 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
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