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. Hillary Izexi

    Nothing will stick on either Hillary or Obama. Their respective cults are too fanatical to let the real truth come to light.

    June 16, 2014 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  2. OldSchool

    So slightly over half of Americans hold this opinion, likely due to the utterly obsessive focus that Republicans have put on it. Most of them probably aren't even aware of what they have an issue with, just that they have seen it on the news and thus have an issue with it. All of this has been beaten to death at this point.

    June 16, 2014 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  3. MaryM

    Whether you like it or not, If Hillary chooses to run you can start practicing now:
    Madam President Hillary Clinton and First Gentleman, President Bill Clinton.
    Go ahead repubs, tell me you have Anyone that can beat that!! No, I didn't think you could

    June 16, 2014 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  4. Tom

    So mishandled is the new lies.

    June 16, 2014 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  5. evelin

    people seem to be confused, a lot of comments refere to the post as embassy, it was not an embassy, it was a consulat!

    June 16, 2014 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  6. rs


    Benghazi deaths: 4
    Iraq war: 4,000+
    Yeah, makes sense. Hypocrites.
    Or, 48,000 Americans dying for the lack of access to health care in Red states-
    or the ongoing weekly body count in mass shootings of Americans by crazies with guns.
    I guess four is a number GOPpers can wrap their heads around.

    June 16, 2014 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  7. goblackhawks

    Yes these all happened .. but what makes Benghazi bad is the Obama adm tried to cover it up with the video and did this all because they wanted to win an election. You are an Obamabot .. which is very sad ..

    June 16, 2014 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  8. focus

    Here is a better question....Will the way the administration handled Benghazi affect the way you will vote?

    June 16, 2014 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  9. Tom

    Clinton would be a fool to run. Whether you supp

    June 16, 2014 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  10. rs


    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?
    Nor will they cop to the 125,000 dead Iraqi civilians, or the creation of 2 million Iraqi refugees spread across the Middle East- shoot, they'll never cop to the destruction of Iraq we're seeing today that their little neocon party started.

    June 16, 2014 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  11. JT

    It's to bad Obama had that fundraiser scheduled the next day. He could have "gotten to the bottom" of this sooner.

    June 16, 2014 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  12. works4me

    Where was the outcry when our other embassies were attacked?? Crickets...

    June 16, 2014 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  13. Robert Price Rifkin

    It's a fact. The victory of the Tea Party over Eric Cantor has thrown a lot of cold water over the idea that “Mainstream” politics might still be alive in the United States. It seems as if “fringe” politics is moving into the mainstream of both parties and that fringe movement promises to overtake a decades drift of the American body politic toward the center. What’s the cause? A feeling among voters that Washington has turned a deaf ear to its needs and wants for far too long. Simple. This throw-the-bums mentality in the minds of voters is prevalent and no single politician has emerged unscathed. Therefore we’re headed toward even more polarization and division–redder states and bluer states, with voters in the middle ground lost somewhere in a far off desert of thickening quicksand.
    Or is that really the way it is? As I write in my proudly Centrist political blog,, the death of the Centrist voter and Centrist politics, in general, has been wildly overblown by the national media, which is, after all, always looking for a spicy, sexy story with long legs. Let’s face it, the middle ground just isn’t very alluring. Extreme behavior and loud, raucous politics are the two things that delight readers and motivate viewers. Would there be a Fox News Network is fringe politics didn’t add bright color to those blue and white screens?
    The truth is that America has always been a Centrist nation at heart–it has almost always roundly rejected focused Left or Right agendas–it might surprise many voters to realize that, after looking closely at the record, even Ronald Reagan was a lot more Liberal than the media painted him. Even Richard Nixon passed a carload of legislation that would today be considered downright Socialist. Even Jimmy Carter supported a pretty middle-of-the-road agenda. That’s because the voters of America don’t particularly embrace the Left of the Right. They never do. They complain a lot. They threaten a lot. They dare politicians to go against their wishes. But, in the end, they’re comfortable in the quiet Center. Politicians of both parties need to wake up to that reality. Or else, get their resumes in order as fast as possible.

    June 16, 2014 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  14. John Book

    How about a poll of how W. managed or mismanaged the 13 U.S. embassies attacked under him?

    June 16, 2014 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  15. rs

    Has anyone considered that "dissatisfaction with the Benghazi investigations" might, in fact reflect the GOP's scorched-earth, lie dissemination method to modern inquisition? I am very dissatisfied with it- $60 million expended, no new facts, and gross misrepresentation of the witnesses and events.

    June 16, 2014 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  16. Uncle Sam

    oh really, it was handled wrong? It surprises me that not all people know that.

    June 16, 2014 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  17. liz

    The lying spin of the right is working however the Teapublican/GOP has failed to tell us why they killed a bill to increase security at our embassies before Benghazi.

    June 16, 2014 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  18. pkfops01

    Benghazi is only an issue because someone on TV says it's one; it's nothing more than a ratings game.

    June 16, 2014 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  19. marc

    How about a poll to see if Benghazi has been overreported? The GOP and news outlets should set up a broken record website. They've drove the story into the ground. If only they'd been so concerned and thorough in reporting the murder of two dozen 5 year olds.

    June 16, 2014 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  20. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    People died in a foreign country that was unstable. Who'd have thunk it. The foreign service can be dangerous.

    The pubs sought to deflect responsibility that they denied funding for additional protection, pressed for an immediate "reason" for the attack, and wanted that reason to be "terrorism" so that they could politicize it. The message about the "reason" was certainly mishandled, but some big conspiracy? NOT!!

    June 16, 2014 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  21. Dragonballs

    Sure she takes "responsibility" for the attack but as she likes to point out, she's "not responsible for security" which means some one else is to blame.

    Furthermore, absent in the CNN's report, Obama and his crew, including Hil, were desperate to evade responsibility and so concocted a number of lies to cover up his incompetency. She may not have pulled the trigger but she is to blame for the deaths of these Americans. They worked for her and she was responsible for them. She let them down just like she'll let down the American People.

    June 16, 2014 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  22. brett haus

    What too many people are missing is WE know who was killed and no thanks to the White House we know who the killers were. boy barry could not find them but a news reporter had coffee with them????????? What people are pi44ed about is the fact we were lied to!. A friggen video upset camel Jockeys ?? People with out electricity were angered by a utube video?? They smaked the building 4 tines in one minute with a mortar in a truck. It was a nice night so they were just cruisng in a truck with a neavy machine gun?
    Now Hillary spoke with buckwheat at 10PM and the video story came out at 10:08 and this was RIGHT before the election when the boy was bragging he had the terrorist quaking in their sandals,LOL That is what we are angry about!
    Just another lie from the Bosnia sniper fire fraud and "If you like your doctor......." Do these people not know the lies are to many to often

    June 16, 2014 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  23. Mancee Graice

    YES. It was terribly handled. Obama should have had fox "news" shut down, Issa sent to Gitmo, and Hillary sent to Iraq.
    Obama should have smacked down the GOP witch hunt with extreme prejudice!

    June 16, 2014 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  24. Jason

    Benghazi this and Benghazi that. I have heard enough.

    June 16, 2014 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  25. woodie

    This is all political spin. That's what the Republican's do for this country. They lie to gain political advantage.

    June 16, 2014 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
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