Attack on U.S. mission in Benghazi
June 16th, 2014
05:00 PM ET
4 years ago

CNN/ORC Poll: Majority dissatisfied with handling of Benghazi

What do you want to ask Hillary Clinton? Send your questions here and CNN Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour might ask it during CNN's town hall meeting with Clinton at 5 p.m. ET Tuesday at the Newseum in Washington.

(CNN) – Six in 10 Americans are dissatisfied with the way the Obama administration has handled the deadly terror attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, a new poll shows.

The CNN/ORC International poll released on Monday indicates only 37% are satisfied with the administration’s response to the September 2012 assault that killed four Americans, including the ambassador to Libya.

Republicans have been strident in their criticism of the slow-to-evolve explanation of what happened in Benghazi, first said to be linked to demonstrations over an anti-Muslim film produced in the United States. That proved untrue.

The administration also has come under scrutiny over security arrangements at the consulate before the attack and its response to the armed assault by militants as it was happening.

Poll: Clinton tops Obama on every issue

The issue has been a major point of attack against Hillary Clinton, who oversaw the State Department at the time and ultimately took responsibility for the safety of diplomatic personnel.

As she weighs another presidential bid, she faces continued questions and criticism from her political opponents about Benghazi.

Despite the political offense mounted against her, Clinton still fares slightly better than the administration in terms of public opinion, according to the survey. Forty-three percent are satisfied with her role in the matter, while 55% have a negative view.

Poll: Clinton 2016 victory a sure thing?

Sixty-one percent of Americans surveyed think the administration has generally been dishonest in providing information about Benghazi in the aftermath of the attack.

“That may be one reason why overall dissatisfaction with the White House has gone from 50% in 2012 to 60% now,” said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Congress has launched multiple investigations to review the matter, and Clinton appeared for hearings on Capitol Hill last year.

In her new book, “Hard Choices,” Clinton bashed her critics for trying to launch a “political slugfest on the backs of dead Americans."

She also casts doubt about her participation in the latest congressional investigation, which involves the formation of a new House Republican select committee focused on the issue.

"It's just plain wrong, and it's unworthy of our great country. Those who insist on politicizing the tragedy will have to do so without me,” she writes.

How enthusiastic are Democrats about Clinton as nominee?

According to the poll, the public is divided on whether Republicans have been too aggressive in their probe. Forty-eight percent say the hearings have been handled appropriately, while 44% say the GOP has gone too far.

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International May 29-June 1, before the rollout of Clinton's new memoir. In the survey, 1,003 adults nationwide were questioned by telephone. The poll's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

CNN’s Ashley Killough and Dan Merica contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2016 • CNN/ORC International poll • Hillary Clinton • Libya • Polls
soundoff (257 Responses)
  1. Craig

    I am appalled at the apathy of America! I don't care if it is Democratic or Republican, we had 4 US Citizens killed of which one was an Ambassador. All of America should be outraged that the party in office pushed this aside for politics and the other party is accused of playing politics. The president and the secretary of state are to blame as the buck stops there and ALL of America should be wanting answers as to why they were not helped and left to die and why the administration tried to cover it up with a silly video.

    This is not politics. This is wanting the truth and taking responsibility Democrat or Republican.

    June 16, 2014 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  2. Eagle0841

    Sly, OBAMA's own spoke person said funding had nothing to do with decisions made on Benghazi. All the delflection does not change this simple fact and admission by an Obama official in charge of security for this region.

    June 16, 2014 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  3. Jim

    I want to know if Ms Clinton had knowledge before the Benghazi attack that the Embassy was at risk of an attack. As I recall, she did know as did the president. But their political position in view of the upcoming elections would be jeopardized in view of Obama's claim that terrorism had been quelled as a result of his ridding the world of Osama bin Laden, and to send troops to defend the several embassies that were under direct threat would be to admit the administration had not lessened the threat of terrorism.

    June 16, 2014 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    "But the gang keeps telling me that NOBODY cares about this."

    I'm pretty sure the only thing the "gang" has been telling you lately is that your pantwetting, whining, ad hominem attacks on those of us you put in that group is unappreciated, insulting and damaging to the conversation here. You're a very very petty, insecure person if you really can't spend any time here without just randomly attacking us out of the blue instead of just posting your thoughts and opinions or responding to specific posts without your little "blah blah the gang" temper tantrums. Do you stomp your feet and yell unintelligibly while you type that nonsense?

    June 16, 2014 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  5. sly

    "A republican President would not have sat on his hands and let those heroes die"
    You are kidding right? Just last week the Republicans were saying we should have left our POW's in enemy hands to be tortured in a coffin-sized box.

    Let's not mention Republican support for banning these same military 'heros' from being allowed to get health care – most of the 50 million banned from health care are military vet's. So ... "let them die" seems to be the current Republican mantra.

    Well evidenced in Benghazi, where Republicans refused 3 bills by Obama to increase security for that embassy.

    Simply put: Republicans killed those 4 in Libya.

    June 16, 2014 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  6. Sidewinder

    Correct me if I am wrong, but the number of investigations after the 1983 Beirut bombing of the US Marine barracks where 241 US service people died was considerably less than the number of Benghazi investigations.

    June 16, 2014 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  7. 1108


    I'm not satisfied with Republicans 3 times veto'ing President Obama's urgent request to increase security funding for that embassy.

    And of course the foolish ambassador also refused Secretary of State Clinton's request to take on increased security.

    Sorry, but the fool was living in LaLa land – walking freely about the city streets during a revolution?
    June 16, 2014 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |

    In testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Charlene Lamb, a deputy assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security, was asked, “Was there any budget consideration and lack of budget which led you not to increase the number of people in the security force there?”

    Lamb responded, “No, sir.”

    June 16, 2014 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  8. pat witt

    " What difference does it make ? " Hillary Clinton ( Benghazi )
    Sorry but I cannot get past that !
    Her history is more than salacious over many years – from Arkansas to Washington .
    Do we not have anyone without a dreadful past who can be considered to lead this country .
    As a female I would love to see a female President – but not this person !

    June 16, 2014 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  9. Eagle0841

    3. Republican Budget Cuts Are Responsible For Poor Security In Benghazi – Discussing the State Department’s poor security posture in Benghazi, Vox wrote that “House Republicans repeatedly cut hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for diplomatic security in the two years before the attack.” The Washington Post’s Fact Checker awarded this argument “Three Pinocchios” and concluded that “the reality is that funding for embassy security has increased significantly in recent years.” Even the State Department’s own Chief Financial Officer for Diplomatic Security has said “I do not feel that we have ever been at a point where we have sacrificed security due to lack of funding.”

    June 16, 2014 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  10. Jason

    So let me get this straight.....The ding dong repubs continue to freak out about Benghazi and the 4 deaths caused by some mistaken US intelligence reactions but they won't cop to the 4,300+ Americans that have died during the war? They won't cop to the denial of global warming at the hands of the industrial complex, the results of which are going to be the single most destructive thing to human health in recorded history. They won't cop to slashing social programs, and education budgets that support so many, but now leave 1 in 5 kids going to bed hungry at night and legions of young adults who either cannot or will not be able to afford college? Let's not even get into gun laws....ugh. The biggest problem is that we're so brainwashed as a nation that we don't even realize that these cretins are screwing us at ever turn....and we keep re-electing them. Benghazi is a non-starter when we can't even feed, educate, or provide nationalized healthcare for our own citizens. The Repubs and the righty business plutocracy really does want Americans to be sicker, fatter, dumber, and poorer so that we can be more easily manipulated and have fewer choices....does that sound the party of personal freedoms to you? Isn't that supposed to be the basis of the Repubby platform? Never before have we seen such hypocrisy from the people who are supposed to care for the citizens of the US.

    June 16, 2014 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "More people have been killed in school shootings in the last year than died at Benghazi. "

    More people are killed in shootings each day than died at Benghazi.


    June 16, 2014 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Benghazi deaths: 4
    Iraq war: 4,000+
    Yeah, makes sense. Hypocrites.

    June 16, 2014 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  13. CryBabies

    Any questions? will all be explained in a video coming soon.

    June 16, 2014 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  14. cal usa

    It turns out Stailin was right when he said when one man dies, it's a tragedy; when a million men die,it's a statisitic. We lost over 6K Americans in Iraq, not to mention the tens of thousands wounded and maimed, or the hundreds of thousands of Iraquis. How does that screw-up match up with Benghazzi? How soon will Darrell Issa start that investigation?

    June 16, 2014 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  15. ThinkAgain: If you don't like Congress, get rid of the repub/tea bag majority

    This same poll should have asked whether the respondents were aware that there were 13 attacks on U.S. diplomatic missions during the GW Bush administration – and how they felt those were handled.

    – June 14, 2002, U.S. consulate in Karachi, Pakistan; Suicide bomber kills 12 and injures 51.
    – February 20, 2003, international diplomatic compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Truck bomb kills 17.
    – February 28, 2003, U.S. consulate in Karachi, Pakistan; Gunmen on motorcycles killed two consulate guards.
    – July 30, 2004, U.S. embassy in Taskkent, Uzbekistan; Suicide bomber kills two.
    – December 6, 2004, U.S. consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; Militants stormed and occupied perimeter wall. Five killed, 10 wounded.
    – March 2, 2006, U.S. consulate in Karachi, Pakistan; Suicide car bomber killed four, including a U.S. diplomate directly targeted by the assailants.
    – September 12, 2006, U.S. embassy in Damascus, Syria; Gunmen attacked embassy with grenades, automatic weapons, and a car bomb (though second truck bomb failed to detonate). One killed and 13 wounded.
    – January 12, 2007, U.S. embassy in Athens, Greece; A rocket-propelled grenade was fired at the embassy building. No one was injured.
    – July 9, 2008, U.S. consulate in Istanbul, Turkey; Armed men attacked consulate with pistols and shotguns. Three policemen killed.
    – March 18, 2008, U.S. embassy in Sana'a, Yemen; Mortar attack misses embassy, hits nearby girls' school instead.
    – September 17, 2008, U.S. embassy in Sana'a, Yemen; Militants dressed as policemen attacked the embassy with RPGs, rifles, grenades and car bombs. Six Yemeni soldiers and seven civilians were killed. Sixteen more were injured.

    June 16, 2014 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "We seem willing to froth over Benghazi "

    Meh. Not really. Just because a poll shows things sway one way or another doesn't show how important the overall issue is in the general public's minds. Think of it this way: you could poll a whole bunch of people tomorrow about whether they prefer foie gras or beluga cavier and you'd get a percentage for each that indicates which one most people prefer. Now ask yourself how often the people who got polled are bothering to eat or even think about either of those things.

    June 16, 2014 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  17. Nate

    I realize that networks like CNN and MSNBC are hard left leaning networks and I think it's unfortunate that we don't have hardly a single network that simply reports the news anymore without having to shove their personal opinion current affairs. But anyone here who says something so absurdly childish like "those must be Fox News numbers" or "It's all Bush's fault" need to understand a few things about how the world works. Not everyone agrees with you. You don't have all the answers to our problems. Bush didn't and obviously Obama doesn't either.

    So instead of acting like my kid and whining about who's fault it is based SOLEY on your political affiliation and not facts, just accept that about half the nation doesn't agree with you or your views. Don't be surprised by it, don't call people names, just accept it. There will never be a nation of 100% liberals or 100% conservatives. It will always be this way. Always. Forever until the sun explodes and incinerates us all. And whether you like or not, it's ok to have differing views it's what separates this country from those oppressed by militant rule or religious ideology. So express your views by all means, just do so in a way that is respectful of others who may not share those views.

    June 16, 2014 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    CNN-Do you really think that 6 out of 10 know ALL the details of what happened in Benghazi? How many know of all the other attacks throughout the many years where many lives had been taken the same way. Give me a break--something else to blame on the President. I would say THIS IS NOT NEWS......

    June 16, 2014 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  19. syntnw

    I wrote a comment cnn said would appear after I sign in. I don't see it but I said the article was bunk. I for ONE don't believe it. Written by someone with nothing important or helpful to write. Ten out of ten people are TIRED of it. Too bad we can't get decent news reporting. Imagine when they steal the net.

    June 16, 2014 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  20. ThinkAgain: If you don't like Congress, get rid of the repub/tea bag majority

    @pat witt: "" What difference does it make ? " Hillary Clinton ( Benghazi )
    Sorry but I cannot get past that !"

    How about getting past the soundbite and looking at the ENTIRE QUOTE. As a fox watcher, you have never seen it, so read on (or use your computer for something other than transcribing RWNJ talking points):

    "With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?

    "It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator.

    "Now, honestly, I will do my best to answer your questions about this, but the fact is that people were trying in real time to get to the best information. The IC has a process, I understand, going with the other committees to explain how these talking points came out. But you know, to be clear, it is, from my perspective, less important today looking backwards as to why these militants decided they did it than to find them and bring them to justice, and then maybe we’ll figure out what was going on in the meantime."

    June 16, 2014 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  21. Steve

    Who did you poll, Fox news viewers?
    War is ugly. These adults chose to go to Benghazi knowing their life would be in danger surrounded by people that hate the U.S.. Could it have ended differently, sure it could have. To blame the President? Nutty thinking.
    I think at this point in time we as a people can fairly say that our meddling in other countries affairs doesn't work out well. We spent 2 trillion dollars in Iraq and what did we get? We've spent about half that in Afghanistan how well is that working out?
    I support President Obama's decisions and stand by them. If you finger pointers disagree then I suggest that you enlist yourselves immediately into whatever division of the military you desire and stop the Monday morning quarter backing!

    June 16, 2014 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  22. chuck

    Sly, There was no such request. It was after all, a you tube video that caused this. MORON!

    June 16, 2014 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  23. MNClownfactory

    Tens of millions of dollars spent on multiple investigations and interveiws with an event that happened 2 + yrs ago and over 5K miles away with may be 24-48hrs time to make a decision (after huge cuts to the budget because of sequestoring) which at best could have closed the Embassy and may be smuggled our personnel out before the attack. That is a huge may be, we had no troops near, we had one war ship in the area which had possibily 24 marines. With this attack would sending those guys have just increased the death toll? Was the evidence of inpending threat even actionable evidence? I am sorry fot the loss of life here in this story. I am even more sorry for the families of these 4 Americans that have been used and re exposed to those events by the GOP to push a political agenda.

    It's over Tea Baggers. spend out money on something worthwhile like education.

    June 16, 2014 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  24. Big_D

    Only 20X this number of people have died in school shootings this year.

    June 16, 2014 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  25. CryBabies

    I love the idiots that say" so many out of so many don't even know where Benghazi is on the map" Well scholars ,as HC would say "What difference, at this point, does it make" , your point is irrelevant.

    June 16, 2014 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
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