A majority thinks the White House has tried to deceive people about the September 11, 2012 terrorist attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. At the same time, Republicans are seen as politicizing the issue rather than trying to get to the truth.
These are just some of the findings from the latest Fox News poll.
Fifty-four percent of voters think the Obama administration has been deceitful about the events surrounding the Benghazi attacks. Half say the same about former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton (50 percent).
In addition, by a 51-39 percent margin, voters say the White House knowingly lied about the attacks to help President Obama’s re-election campaign.
Among Democrats, 25 percent say Obama has tried to deceive on Benghazi and 23 percent think the White House lied to help the campaign.
The attacks that killed four Americans took place less than two months before Election Day. Even though the Obama administration had intelligence that the attackers were connected to terrorist groups, the White House pushed the story of a spontaneous protest in response to an online video.
On April 29 a previously unreleased email surfaced from a White House adviser that discussed how to characterize the attacks.
A week later House Republicans voted to establish a new select committee to investigate Benghazi. Voters approve of that decision by a large 67-28 percent margin. That includes a 55-percent majority of Democrats.
Continuing the Benghazi investigation is not without peril for Republicans. Despite their distrust of the White House on this issue, voters doubt Republican motives are pure. The number saying Republicans are investigating Benghazi for political gain is more than double the number who see the GOP as doing it to find the truth (63-30 percent).
Even 38 percent of Republicans think their party is politicizing the issue.
One possible reason the Obama administration hasn’t been hurt more by Benghazi is that most voters don’t place all of the blame on the White House. While a combined 72 percent say at least some of the blame for the security failings at the U.S. consulate falls on the administration, just 36 percent say the White House deserves “a great deal of blame” (and 36 percent “some blame”).
Republicans (60 percent) and independents (41 percent) are much more likely than Democrats (15 percent) to place “a great deal of blame” on the Obama administration for security failings.
Overall views are similar on how much blame the administration deserves for failing to bring the individuals responsible for the attacks to justice: 38 percent say Obama deserves “a great deal of blame” for that, while 30 percent say “some blame.”
Meanwhile, 78 percent of voters consider the issue serious, including 52 percent who see the Obama administration’s handling of Benghazi as “very serious.” For comparison, 53 percent see government surveillance of everyday Americans as “very serious” and 44 percent feel that way about the IRS targeting of conservative groups.
The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 1,025 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from May 10, 12-13, 2014. The full poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.