Attack on U.S. mission in Benghazi
June 16th, 2014
05:00 PM ET
3 months 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. Anonymous

    Polling on subjects like this means nothing, unless you can demonstrate that those polled are actually knowledgeable on the subject–and can prove it. Jimmy Kimmel and Jay Leno showed time and again in man-on-the-street interviews that people have opinions on things they know absolutely nothing about.

    June 16, 2014 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  2. Henriette

    Benghazi mishandled? That's like saying Attila the Hun lacked etiquette.

    June 16, 2014 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  3. Angie

    Why is this considered news?? It's one thing to be a headline, but Breaking News??? So weird...pandering.

    June 16, 2014 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  4. Casey

    I as a Democrat am appalled that now they are trying to redirect the Heat and cause of the cover up aftermath that Hillary introduced/orchestrated/took responsibility for, redirected to the "Obama Administration", just so she can look good in the spotlight as she attempts a bid for the white house.

    She's probably the one that requested CNN spin this away from her personally so Obama (who can't run another term) takes the fall for her mistakes.

    How can we honestly trust someone that covers something like this up, or doesn't have the cojones to stand up to her filthy husband and divorce, just so she can continue in the political limelight. If she can't stand up to Bill for what he did, then how the heck can we trust her to stand up for America?

    She simply spews lies, and this is just another attempt to misdirect your attention away from Hillary's shortcomings, don't fall for it. Let's find an honorable candidate for the Dems. in 2016.

    June 16, 2014 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  5. Marcus

    What do people expect is going to happen when we have embassies in countries where the people don't like us??

    June 16, 2014 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  6. bill oreally

    Looks like another Fauxnews poll has made it to CNN. Kinda like the Fauxnews poll that said Bush was even with Obama in popularity. When did Murdock buy CNN???

    June 16, 2014 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  7. spoo

    we had 1000s of americans killed for the mess republicans made in iraq, we are seeing the result of their actions. republicans now are going to the ceiling because of benghazi. more cynical is impossible .....

    June 16, 2014 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  8. GODZILLA1

    No need for further discussion – the polls have already called the election of 2016 for Hillary.

    June 16, 2014 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  9. Lardoggy

    "What difference does it make,I'll be prez in 2016" said Hillary.

    June 16, 2014 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  10. anothermuse

    Yet..maybe two percent of those polled have a clue as to what happened beyond their favorite news channel's headlines.

    June 16, 2014 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  11. TrumanTown

    Benghazi was a consulate in name only. It was a CIA outpost. Everyone knew it was a dangerous place to be, and Ambassador Stevens had been warned that he would not be safe there. Given the nature of the attack, there was no way that the US could have had adequate firepower to protect the site (Several of the victims WERE the firepower), and the suddenness of the attack, it was not possible for forces outside the city to arrive anywhere close to the time needed to respond. Why is the Administration so reticent and misdirecting in responding to criticism and questions? There is a time-honored answer: If you talk about covert operations, they are by definition no longer covert. Of course, the critics know all of this and choose to take advantage of the need for the Administration to maintain its reticence.

    June 16, 2014 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  12. J wo

    According to Dana Milbank of WaPO:
    For fiscal 2013, the GOP-controlled House proposed spending $1.934 billion for the State Department’s Worldwide Security Protection program — well below the $2.15 billion requested by the Obama administration….
    GOP vice presidential nominee Paul] Ryan, [Rep. Darrell] Issa and other House Republicans voted for an amendment in 2009 to cut $1.2 billion from State operations, including funds for 300 more diplomatic security positions. Under Ryan’s budget, non-defense discretionary spending, which includes State Department funding, would be slashed nearly 20 percent in 2014, which would translate to more than $400 million in additional cuts to embassy security.

    June 16, 2014 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  13. really

    with a lifespan of less than 25,000 days I could care less about Benghazi, could we focus on moving man forward instead of dragging our feet, I mean 100,000 die each day while we are mucking about with small mindedness.

    June 16, 2014 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  14. Namejiseph

    What majority? Majority doesn't even know how to spell Benghazi.

    June 16, 2014 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  15. Yakobi

    "only 37% are satisfied with the administration’s response to the September 2012 assault "
    Considering 1/3 of Americans are certifiably loony tunes nuts and would support ANYTHING a democrat does so long as a (D) appeared after their name, I'd say the administration doesn't have the support of a single person with more than two brain cells to rub together.

    June 16, 2014 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  16. really

    with a lifespan of less than 25,000 days I could care less about Benghazi, could we focus on moving man forward instead of dragging our feet, I mean 100,000 die each day while we are mucking about with small mindedness. Stay on task everyone while the monkeybusiness is shaking the trees.

    June 16, 2014 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  17. Mcbob79

    Only the media would ask this type of question. Obviously the Obama administration led by Hillary Clinton, mishandled Benghazi. They ask as if it's debatable.

    June 16, 2014 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  18. really

    with a lifespan of less than 25,000 days I could care less about Benghazi, could we focus on moving man forward instead of dragging our feet, I mean 100,000 die each day while we are mucking about with small mindedness. Stay on task everyone while the conservative monkeybusiness is shaking the trees.

    June 16, 2014 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  19. rep

    Nothing new to see here. There've been 2 govt investigations already so far (3 if you could the NYT one as well) and all identified similar problems, but none gave the TeaOP what it wants–i.e., Obama's and/or Clinton's head on a platter. So, they keep holding investigations, feigning outrage, and loudly claiming that the "truth" is being withheld. It has nothing to do with deaths or anything else. It's pure politics. But it feeds the public's general mistrust of govt with conspiracy theories and other nutball ideas that, once spawned, live on forever in some people's minds.

    To give you a clue to how bizarrely out of proportion and absurd this has gotten, remember that 9/11 had just ONE Congressional investigation. The Iraq War had just ONE as well. And the 12+ or so previous consulate attacks & deaths during the last administration had NONE. ZERO. Nothing at all! Let's do the math... If just 4 American deaths each merits 3 years and 3 investigations for things the other party says that shoulda/woulda/coulda been done differently in hindsight, we should be investigating 9/11 alone until about the year 11000 and have about 9000 formal Congressional inquiries.

    Again, Benghazi is having its third (or forth) investigation overall...even though even the first one essentially concluded all the same things the others have and recommended the changes necessary to keep it from happening again. And THAT's why this has gone too far. Enough already!

    June 16, 2014 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  20. Tychi

    Most people do not know what happened, why it happened or the US response. Many just read of watch a very politicalized media that only tells half of the information. People rather believe the negative version and let the truth remain unknown.

    June 16, 2014 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  21. HenryMason

    Benghazi !!!! Its become a joke. Embarrassment for the SC senator who can't shut up about it.

    June 16, 2014 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  22. Thomas

    Benghazi is a side show , look at all the assets we lost in Iraq ..

    Next time we invade a country , measure twice and cut once .

    June 16, 2014 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  23. HeyHey

    It's always mishandled because they don't believe in Americas purpose or ability and insure it comes up short to prove their point.

    June 16, 2014 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  24. middle america man

    The Iraq war was 1,000 times more deadly and 1,000 times shadier than Benghazi, plus it's number one with a bullet right now. Republicans should shut up and lay low right about now.

    June 16, 2014 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  25. Rob

    The republicans ran a great smear campaign. They have no solutions of their own and waste countless dollars politicking over issues that no one has control over.

    June 16, 2014 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
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