Americans’ focus on the Internal Revenue Service and Benghazi stories is below average, according to a new poll.
The Gallup poll found that 54% of Americans are following the IRS scandal and 53% of the country’s citizens are paying attention to the congressional hearings on the Benghazi, Libya, attack. The data is low based on historical measures of other news stories during the last two decades, the survey out Friday found.
This week President Obama came under fire from politicians, journalists, and the public on three major issues. Officials have acknowledged that the IRS’ Cincinnati office wrongly targeted conservative groups, giving disproportionate scrutiny to their applications to become 501(c)(4) organizations. Questions and GOP conspiracy theories over the deadly attack in Benghazi, Libya, last September also continue to bog down his administration. In addition, the White House is dealing with the fallout from a Justice Department investigation because the Associated Press reported dozens of journalists had their phone records secretly collected.
President Obama said Wednesday that he asked for acting-IRS commissioner Steven Miller’s resignation. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee Friday amid revelations the agency had improperly targeted conservative groups.
Republicans are more tuned in than Democrats on both issues. There is a 21-point gap between the two parties in following the Benghazi story, and a 27-point gap on the IRS story, according to the poll.
Despite the lack of focus, most Americans said both the IRS scandal and Benghazi hearings deserve continuing investigation. They placed similar importance on both issues despite the administration seemingly giving more weight to the IRS situation.