Poll: More approve of Obama's response to embassy attack than Romney's
September 17th, 2012
03:10 PM ET
10 years ago

Poll: More approve of Obama's response to embassy attack than Romney's

(CNN) – Americans who were closely following developments in last week's attacks on American diplomatic posts in Egypt and Libya were more likely to favorably rate President Barack Obama's handling of the dilemma than they were Mitt Romney's, according to a poll released Monday.

The survey from the Pew Research Center found 45% of Americans who said they were closely following the news approved of Obama's handling of the situation, compared to 26% who approved of Romney's statements. Conversely, 36% disapproved of Obama's handling of the situation, and 48% disapproved of Romney's response. Nineteen percent didn't have an opinion on Obama, and 26% couldn't rate Romney.

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The partisan breakdown of those who said they were following the news closely was largely even. Forty-eight percent of Republicans and 41% of Democrats said they were following the developments closely.

The attacks last week on the U.S. embassy in Cairo and an American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, drew sharp reaction from Romney. The GOP presidential nominee initially issued a statement last Tuesday night, as reports indicated an American diplomatic worker in Benghazi had been killed in an attack. The Republican candidate's statement was sent before news broke that the American ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, had been killed in the attack.

In separate protests in Cairo, several men scaled the walls of the U.S. embassy and tore down its American flag. The violence in both Libya and Egypt stemmed from anger about an online film considered offensive to Islam.

In his statement, Romney said he was "outraged" by the attacks in Benghazi and Cairo, but took harsh aim at the Obama administration for what he characterized as a weak response to the violence.

"It's disgraceful that the Obama Administration's first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks," Romney wrote, an apparent reference to a statement from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo that denounced the anti-Islam film that is the source of the protesters' anger. The embassy's statement was released before protesters stormed the American embassy in Cairo on Tuesday.

Reaction to Romney's remarks was mixed. While some Republicans defended their party's presidential nominee, others were more critical, saying Romney had acted too quickly to inject politics into the still-developing situation.

The Pew Research Center poll surveyed 854 Americans who said they were closely following the news in Libya and Egypt. The poll was taken by telephone between September 13-16, and the sampling error was plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

Filed under: 2012 • Foreign Policy • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (102 Responses)
  1. Cherylynn

    It would be wise for Romney and his campaign to remember that there is only one president at at time and he is not it. Political pundits and politicians who have not been elected to the office have no business spouting off about foreign policy affecting this country as events are still unfolding. Sometimes it is better to say nothing and be thought a fool than to say something and prove it.

    September 17, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  2. John the Historian

    Why is Willard denouncing Arabs sinc ethey are ancestors of his 13 tribe of Israel who crossed th Atlatic from Morocco to be the ancestors of the American-Indians. Latter days need to make up their minds. So much flip flopping. Have they ever decided how many husbands Anne Romney will get on the planet of kolob since Republicans claim there is no war on women. I mean if Romney gets 56 wives like rapist and murderer Brigham Young why doesn't get get at least 55. We all now about Brigham Youngs' 19th wife divorcing him and calling him a fraud. I hope the Latter Days finally display something that represents their 200 pound book of mormon. I want to see this gold book of tablets. Just like I would like to see a Romney plan for anything. I already don't like the idea of moving the capital to Nauvoo, Illinois.

    September 17, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
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