Tags: obama | scandal | poll | honesty

WSJ/NBC Poll: 55% Doubt Honesty of Obama Administration

Image: WSJ/NBC Poll: 55% Doubt Honesty of Obama Administration

Wednesday, 05 Jun 2013 09:19 AM

By Melanie Batley

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Americans doubt the Obama administration can be trusted in the wake of the recent IRS scandal and other controversies, but most people stop short of holding the president personally responsible, a new poll has found.

A majority of respondents, or 55 percent, said the IRS scrutiny of conservative groups raised their doubts about the administration's "overall honesty and integrity," according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC survey of 1,000 adults.

A similar proportion of respondents said the administration's handling of the terrorist attack on a U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, last September and the recent surveillance of reporters by the Justice Department also contributed to their dimmer view of the administration.

Latest: Is Susan Rice to Blame for Benghazi Cover Up? Was She Complicit? Vote Here.

But the poll conducted May 30 to June 2 also showed that Americans don't hold the president directly responsible for the scandals. His overall job approval rating has held steady at 48 percent compared to 47 percent who disapprove, an identical rating to one in an April Journal/NBC poll.

"The responsibility has not yet landed in the president's lap," said Fred Yang, the Democratic pollster who conducts the Journal/NBC poll with Republican Bill McInturff. "The public is taking a wait-and-see view."

At the same time, however, the president's support among independents has seen a significant decline since January, the survey shows. Fifty-nine percent of independents currently disapprove of the job he is doing compared to 28 percent who approve. In the January poll, 52 percent of independents disapproved, but 41 percent approved.

Furthermore, just 27 percent of independents see the president as being "honest and straightforward" compared to 45 percent who thought so in January.

"The poll's big story is the sharp erosion among independents," Yang said.

Meanwhile, of the three controversies surrounding the administration, people pin the most blame on the president for his handling of Benghazi, with 41 percent of those surveyed saying he is primarily responsible.

But McInturff suggested the controversies are not yet having a serious effect on his presidency. "These episodes are not Iran-Contra," he said, adding that they are "impacting but not restructuring" the president's public support.

The poll also showed that while Americans are still dissatisfied with the state of the economy, their impressions are improving. Thirty-six percent of those polled expressed some level of satisfaction with the economy, the highest since the start of Obama's presidency, representing an increase of 9 percentage points since January.

Latest: Is Susan Rice to Blame for Benghazi Cover Up? Was She Complicit? Vote Here.


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