On Benghazi, voters trust Hillary Clinton over congressional Republicans

Updated
U.S.Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies on the September attack on U.S. diplomatic sites in Benghazi, Libya during a hearing held by  the U.S....
U.S.Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies on the September attack on U.S. diplomatic sites in Benghazi, Libya during a hearing held by the U.S....
Jason Reed/Reuters

Despite the growing fury over the Benghazi, Libya, consulate attacks among congressional Republicans, the American public remains unaffected by issue of Benghazi, still giving former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton high favorable marks, and low marks to Republican lawmakers. According to a new Public Policy Polling poll released Monday, voters trust Hillary Clinton over congressional Republicans on the Benghazi attack that killed four American diplomats, 49% to 39%.

Hillary Clinton also holds a 52% approval rating, surpassing congressional Republicans’ rating of 36%. More than half of voters–57%–view GOP lawmakers unfavorably. While Republicans continue to harp the administration’s response to the issue of Benghazi with with House Speaker John Boehner calling on the White House to release internal emails from the days following the attacks, it appears that voters are not convinced of the gravity of the scandal. Of those polled, 65% said they did not believe the issue on Benghazi was the biggest political scandal in American history. Less than half of Republicans, 41%, and 23% of the general public said it was the biggest political scandal in American history. Furthermore, 39% of those who believed Benghazi was the biggest scandal could not actually locate where Benghazi is–10% believe the second largest city in Libya is in Egypt, 9% in Iran, and 6% in Cuba.

Last week, during the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held an investigative hearing on Benghazi, Chairman Darrell Issa pressed the administration, saying that “somebody close” to Clinton is responsible for the attacks.

Twelve different versions of the talking points on the Benghazi attack given to U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice showed that the drafts had scrubbed terrorism references, providing more ammunition for Republicans to continue bringing up the issue.

Two potential Republican contenders, Sens. Marco Rubio and Rand Paul wrote op-eds pointing directly at Clinton. In a USA Today op-ed published Thursday, Sen. Rubio wrote, “The House hearing raises new questions about Secretary Hillary Clinton’s role in the administration’s efforts to portray the attack as the result of a spontaneous demonstration, despite abundant evidence to the contrary and efforts by one of her top lieutenants to intimidate those who were asking the right questions.”

In his policy-speech-turned-campaign-rally to the Iowa Republican Party Friday, Sen. Paul tried to pre-empt a Clinton 2016 presidential run. “It was inexcusable, it was a dereliction of duty, and it should preclude her from holding higher office,” Sen. Rand said.

The conservative Kentucky senator echoed the sentiment in an op-ed published last week. “The new evidence we have today–and that continues to mount–suggests that at the very least, Mrs. Clinton should never hold high office again.”

On Benghazi, voters trust Hillary Clinton over congressional Republicans

Updated