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. Anonymous

    Maybe Americans are just waking up to what we did when electing Obama to the Job. When we need a president
    the most this president is absent...hiding in the white house or heading off to Africa to play golf....Sad for America today.

    June 18, 2013 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  2. W James

    hmmmm, maybe Nixon should of used that defense!

    June 18, 2013 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  3. Scrittore

    Amazing – how quickly the adoring public turns on a man handed one of the biggest messes from a previous administration EVER!

    From the night of Obama's first inauguration, key Republicans legislators and non-legislators (like Newt Gingrich) met to plan out how to obstruct or defeat every single effort on the part of the newly elected president and his staff to repair the damage they, the Republicans, had made of the country's fiscal and international standings (that group included Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan).

    Republicans seized on the tragedy of Benghazi and the mess the administration made of handling it – but never raised their voices of concern and outrage over the twelve attacks on US Embassies and Consulates during the George W. tenure as President that resulted in great damage, 60 killed including a US diplomat, and hundreds injured.

    Then there is the MASSIVE DOMESTIC SPYING on Americans done under the Bush administration WITHOUT WARRANTS that you hear nary a peep about today.

    So...the apparently really dumb American populace seems to once again be buying into all the Republican noise-machine propaganda with the sole agenda of getting themselves voted back into the WH so they can complete the task of running the country off the rails as well as undoing all the progress made in fixing the mess they left behind for the current administration to deal with.

    June 18, 2013 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  4. Mike

    Maybe Americans are just waking up to what we did when electing Obama to the Job. When we need a president
    the most this president is absent...hiding in the white house or heading off to Africa to play golf....Sad for America today.

    June 18, 2013 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  5. lewnaticink

    yes we can believe cnn, they are totally impartial, they are the most fair and unbiased news agency I can think of , this must be legit.rrriiigggghhhhttttttt.we all now how rigged the polls are. cnn is more guilty then the irs for the state of this country and there hatered for it

    June 18, 2013 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  6. Buffmuffin

    LOL... 'nearly half'...

    America has raised 2 generations of utter morons with no common sense nor education to usher in a new era of socialist collectivism.

    June 18, 2013 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  7. Scott

    What's this becoming a police state, I want to go back to how it was before 9/11

    June 18, 2013 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  8. COMMON_SENSE_FAIR

    lets delay the applications of liberal, environmental, and progressive groups until after the 2014 mid-term elections and then we can call it FAIR.......okay?

    June 18, 2013 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  9. Doug

    Amazing how CNN buried its own poll. Would they have done so if the outcome was different? So much for unbiased professional reporting.

    June 18, 2013 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  10. Ta111

    Finally, the low info folks are waking up.

    June 18, 2013 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  11. kimdi01

    I do not believe that this scandal came directly from orders originating at the White House. I do believe that it originated with the Obama campaign staff. Whether Obama was involved would never be proven because no one on that staff will turn on him. Why? Presidential pardons.

    June 18, 2013 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  12. Harris

    Who cares ? The average Democrat voter will not remember or care come the next election cycle. It will all boil down to ... Who is giving away stuff and who is giving away more stuff.
    So much time wasted on research and review in order to try and cast a few somewhat informed votes and all I have to show for it is a pack of self absorbed wimps and lying traders. I have been on this political treadmill for too long. Republicans can go to hell.

    For now on it's going to be 3rd. party or no vote at all.

    June 18, 2013 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  13. John

    I believe the orders to harass TEA party groups and others came out of the Oval Office and I believe that the more people look into this the clearer it will be that 0bama used his office and his authority to harass, delay, deny, and otherwise keep groups not tied to the Democrats from getting tax exempt status. I think it is time for Americans to step back and look at the totality of the 0bama reign and conclude 0bama is a crook and does not belong in the White House

    June 18, 2013 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  14. j0eschm0e

    lol, no responses. people are afraid of getting the IRS onto them.

    June 18, 2013 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  15. Bob Menendez's conscience

    Hey CNN, if Bush were president, you lead off every broadcast with numbers like this. How 'bout actually doing the job of a respectable new organization and hold this administration to account?

    June 18, 2013 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  16. GringoB

    Prison time and possibly impeachment awaits....

    June 18, 2013 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  17. The Other Bob

    This poll is clear evidence that the Republicans' relentless disinformation campaign is working. ANY group with a political organization as part of its name deserves extra scrutiny when applying for tax-exempt status.

    June 18, 2013 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  18. John Boy

    Reason tells everyone that this came from 'his majesty' himself. Are there any pictures of this meeting in the
    Situation Room?

    June 18, 2013 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  19. Michael

    Duh. The only people surprised by this are total lemmings still believing obama is a good president. Jokes on them.

    June 18, 2013 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  20. Wake up People!

    Fox-lite take your polls and shove them. I'm beginning to loathe this site.

    June 18, 2013 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  21. Jim

    Does anyone truly believe these political appointees don't know the answers to the questions they're being asked? Can you imagine answering an IRS, or even an FBI question "I don't recall"?

    June 18, 2013 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  22. Ben Dover

    Be careful how you respond to this article. You ARE being watched.

    June 18, 2013 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  23. Alexis

    More than anything, this statistic is a commentary on the intelligence deficit of America today. But then, so were the '08 and '12 elections.

    June 18, 2013 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  24. str8t69

    It came from the top. We need to topple the top and get real governance.

    June 18, 2013 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  25. MC

    The IRS didn't do enough to keep the teatard scum from collecting anonymous cash.

    June 18, 2013 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
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