Dealing with a trifecta of scandals, Americans are questioning the Obama administration's integrity. But despite accusations from some Republicans, they are not yet blaming President Barack Obama for the scandals.
That’s the big takeaway from a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Wednesday, showing the president’s approval remaining steady despite the swirling scandals at the Internal Revenue Service, Justice Department, and continued questions from Republicans on the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi, Libya.
In the poll, 41 percent of respondents said Obama was “totally” or “mainly” responsible for the Benghazi attack, 37 percent believe Obama carries this level of culpability for DOJ acquiring journalists’ communications records and 33 percent hold him responsible for the IRS giving inappropriate scrutiny to conservative groups seeking tax-free status. A majority of respondents felt each of these scandals raise doubts about the administration’s “honestly and integrity.” Among those blaming Obama, Republicans unsurprisingly outnumber Democrats.
Still, Obama’s approval number has held steady at 48 percent despite a dropoff among independents, the poll finds, likely buoyed by Americans' attitude toward the improving U.S. economy.
But for those Republicans who want voters to see Obama as primarily responsible, the numbers show they haven’t yet succeeded. "As late as last week the administration's still trying to say there's a few rogue agents in Cincinnati when in fact the indication is they were directly being ordered from Washington," Rep. Darrell Issa, the California Republican who chairs the House Oversight Committee, said Sunday.
On Thursday, Issa will hold a hearing on excessive spending on conferences at the IRS, the third hearing about the embattled agency this week. According to the poll, just 10 percent of Americans have a high level of confidence in the IRS.
The poll surveyed 1,000 adults May 30 through June 2 and has a margin of error of +/-3.1 percentage points.