Attack on U.S. mission in Benghazi
June 16th, 2014
05:00 PM ET
6 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. Paul

    The Repubs just won't let Benghazi go. This is not the first time the American government was left flat-footed because of ignored intel. It seems to be a common occurrence no matter who's president. Four lost Americans was regrettable but over 40 embassy employees were killed on W.'s watch. These things have always happened at American embassies located in hostile countries but for some political reason the Repubs keep beating this dead horse. Time to move on. This will not affect Hillary just like trying to vote down ACA over 40 times in Congress did nothing.

    June 16, 2014 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  2. Nurani Reed

    This is a mute point...Benghazi is over...No one cares

    June 16, 2014 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  3. John

    If you hear something enough times, and don't try to find the truth, you would believe the moon is made from cream cheese.

    June 16, 2014 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  4. Paul

    This is not the first time the American government was left flat-footed because of ignored intel. It seems to be a common occurrence no matter who's president. Four lost Americans was regrettable but over 40 embassy employees were killed on W.'s watch. These things have always happened at American embassies located in hostile countries but for some political reason the Repubs keep beating this dead horse. Time to move on. This will not affect Hillary just like trying to vote down ACA over 40 times in Congress did nothing.

    June 16, 2014 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  5. emma

    so no one at the embassy that refused additional security is not to blame but those in washington are?

    June 16, 2014 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  6. Yahoodi Mossad

    WHO is this Ben Ghazi character and why is everyone talking about him? Is he related to Albert Kayda?

    June 16, 2014 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  7. Hogarth

    And facts are determined by polls, is that it?

    June 16, 2014 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  8. YK

    " 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."

    If you seriously think that only one side is playing politics, then you are blind. There is nothing in this that isn't about politics, and everybody is exploiting your gullible nature to try to score some cheap political points.

    June 16, 2014 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  9. chill out

    Opinion polls mean nothing. If they did we would have better gun control right now. Where is the outrage over the school shootings

    June 16, 2014 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  10. John

    Do you prefer the GW years....13 embassy attacks, including 2 in a very short period of time, both in Riyadh, and nothing was done to prevent the 2nd from happening 77 deaths.....1000% more deaths and attacks than during the Obama regime, and yet americans are unhappy with Obama........Thank you for the huge improvement Obama, 1 attack 4 deaths in 5 years, a phenomenal record of improvement

    June 16, 2014 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  11. toni taylor

    Bengazi is not the fault of the Obama admistration...it is the fault of the GOP lead Congress for their BONEHEADED failure to approve funding for the additional security needed in a hostile place with those people mad at the US for messing things up over there in the first place!

    June 16, 2014 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  12. john doe

    Anyone can weekend quarter-back this stuff, but nobody can completely foresee what is going to happen in geopolitical events like this. 98% of the critics would stand like a deer in the headlights if tasked with these kind of responsibilities. Everyone is an expert sitting behind their keyboard in the warm safety of their homes.

    June 16, 2014 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  13. The dodging dems

    I had high hopes for these dems. Such great speeches and fan fair. Now look what we got. One thing after another. I wonder what will fall apart this week?! They've managed to make things worse and their collective response is to shift blame. Disgraceful.. All of them as well as the old guard GOP. Cantors loss is a big win. The message is clear. Vote them all out.
    Speaker, McCain, Dirty Harry, Pelosi, such a long list .. Howlin' Hillary .. Gives me the heebeegeebees. Poor Barack shuda stayed a senator for another 10 years.. And then maybe try it. He was just too green and didn't even know enough to hire good help. What a fiasco administration. IRS loses emails? Ask snowden, maybe he's got em!

    June 16, 2014 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  14. SAW

    Is this another Benghazi in the making?

    June 16, 2014 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  15. NameLue Blacknell

    So much for polls! Isn't that how romney & cantor were put in a "trick"?
    Most Americans don't know their a-from a hole in the ground! (Benghazi)They don't even know how to spell it-let alone say it! It would probably be a name of a drink or dance.....only in America..DUMB RULES..

    June 16, 2014 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  16. Lfp2010

    Where is the statistic about how many Americans have even heard of Bengazi?

    I'd guess that number is less than 20%.

    June 16, 2014 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  17. amazed2

    Craig were you so appalled when this same type of thing happened the previous 17 times at our embassys or to our personnel? Where was Faux News then, don't quite remember this reaction when the black guy wasn't at the helm.

    June 16, 2014 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  18. YK

    The only reason any Americans care about Benghazi is that one party wants to use these talking points to try to control the media when Hillary Clinton runs for President.

    Otherwise, Benghazi is about as important to Americans as Crimea.

    June 16, 2014 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  19. Lynne Buchanan

    I hate the Sound Off structure. Trying to comment on another comment is arduous and inefficient with no Reply option. So many posts and so few FACTS! Amazing how people are so lazy they can't research and learn - just regurgitating.

    June 16, 2014 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  20. TM

    Benghazi has been overplayed and overblown.

    June 16, 2014 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  21. Stephen Daugherty

    Look, we can pretend this is a rational response, but how much of this is simply never-ending negativity? If you have one group of people who just pour bile into the public discourse month after month, you'll get these kinds of numbers.

    But of course, we saw even more devastating policy screw-ups from these people, including the one whose ultimate after effects we're dealing with now. So really, this is just politics, from a group of people who can't get people to trust their foreign policy without undermining the image of somebody else's.

    June 16, 2014 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  22. Richard Right

    So a majority acknowledge the President and Secretary of State outright lied about the cause of deaths to get re-elected.

    June 16, 2014 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  23. rude

    I am flabbergasted that only these deaths matter. Using these deaths to attack the president while ignoring THOUSANDS more. The politics of selective outrage has enraged me.

    June 16, 2014 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  24. mark

    all we lost was a cia spy

    June 16, 2014 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  25. willhaas

    Mrs. Clinton's admitted that her administrative incompetence led to the death of four Americans. How can any one be pleased with that? And then on top of that she participated in the administration's lying to the American people about the action. Some people do not like being lied to. Mrs. Clinton has yet to come out out and tell the detailed truth about her admitted administrative incompetence and about the lie the administration told the American people.

    June 16, 2014 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
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