Fox News poll: Election kept Obama from taking action in Benghazi

A majority of Americans believes President Obama let election-year politics rule his decision not to send help to the Americans under attack at the consulate in Benghazi, according to a Fox News poll.

The poll also finds most voters -- 73 percent -- think Congress should continue to investigate the administration’s handling of the terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic post there.  That includes 58 percent of Democrats.

The attack took place in Benghazi, Libya on the anniversary of September 11 and resulted in the deaths of a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.

Fifty-six percent of voters think Obama did not order U.S. troops to Benghazi because he “didn’t want to risk something going wrong that could cost him the election.”

That’s double the 28 percent who say the president didn’t send help because “he believed nothing could be done to help them.”  Another 16 percent are unsure.

About a third of Democrats (32 percent) agree with almost all Republicans (86 percent) and nearly half of independents (49 percent) that the election kept Obama from sending troops.

In addition, majorities think the president (59 percent) and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (55 percent) could have done more to help the Americans on the night of the attack.

The day after the attack Obama vowed “to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people.”  Voters are unsure that will happen:  47 percent think the attackers will be caught and brought to justice, while 48 percent don’t.

Views are also mixed over whether Benghazi should disqualify U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice for the job as Obama’s national security adviser.  Rice appeared on five Sunday talk shows and insisted the attack was spontaneous and sparked in part by an online video -- even though the administration had intelligence reports that disproved that.  On Thursday Obama named Rice as his national security adviser.   Forty-seven percent think Rice’s role in the Benghazi matter should disqualify her for that job, while almost as many -- 45 percent -- say it doesn’t.

Most Republicans (73 percent) say it disqualifies Rice, while Democrats disagree (64 percent).

Overall, 66 percent of voters say they are following news about Benghazi at least somewhat closely.  That’s down from 75 percent last month.

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 1,019 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from June 9 to June 11.  The full poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.