Poll: Most Americans Outraged by VA Scandal; Many Blame Obama

Tuesday, 03 Jun 2014 11:59 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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An overwhelming number of Americans are outraged by the Veterans Affairs scandal, with many of them believing that President Barack Obama is clearly or partially to blame for the crisis, a new poll reveals.

The Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 97 percent of Americans described the falsified wait times and the long treatment delays for veterans as a serious problem, while 82 percent called it "very serious."

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Asked whether they thought that Obama was "personally responsible" for the VA scandal, 19 percent said he deserved a "great deal" of the blame, while another 19 percent said he was a "good deal" to blame.

A further 41 percent said he was "just some" to blame, adding up to 79 percent of respondents who thought that the president is in some way responsible for the embattled department’s problems.

The poll also found that 65 percent of Americans believe that VA Secretary Eric Shinseki was "right to resign" in the wake of the ongoing investigation. Twenty-two percent felt he should have kept his job.

The survey also explored the attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.

Democratic leaders have claimed that the special select committee empaneled by the GOP-controlled House to investigate the tragedy was purely a political ploy to damage Obama in the midterm elections and to hurt potential Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton in 2016.

But the public does not appear to agree with the Democrats, according to the survey, which showed that 51 percent of Americans "support an additional congressional investigation," as opposed to 42 percent who think there’s been enough oversight into the  attacks that killed four Americans.

There was more bad news for Obama in the Washington Post-ABC News poll, with a majority of Americans, 56 percent, saying that they disapproved of the way Obama is "handling implementation of the new healthcare law," compared to only 39 percent who approved.

And the results were just as bad for Clinton, who was the secretary of state at the time of the Benghazi attacks. Fifty percent of Americans disapprove of her handling of the siege and its aftermath, while only 37 percent approved.

The survey also shows that 51 percent of Americans are unhappy with the job Obama is doing as president, while 46 percent gave him the thumbs-up, an increase from an April poll when only 41 percent approved of his performance.

However, there is some good news for Obama in the poll. More than three out of four Americans support his troop withdrawal plans for Afghanistan, as opposed to 19 percent who were against it. The drawdown will see just 9,800 soldiers in the strife-torn nation at year’s end, less than 5,00 next year, and none in 2016.

The poll of 1,002 adults was conducted May 29 to June 1, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama's Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

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