Poll asks public's view of Benghazi attack
Majority don't think White House misled about events
A slight majority of Americans are giving the White House low marks for how it has handled the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, according to a new national survey.
But a CNN/ORC International poll released Wednesday also indicates that a more solid majority of the public doesn't believe the Obama administration intentionally tried to mislead Americans on the September attack that left the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans dead.
Only four in ten Americans believe that the inaccurate statements by administration officials in the days following the Benghazi attack were intended to deliberately mislead the public, with 56 percent saying those statements reflected what the Obama administration believed at the time had occurred in Libya.
"But that does not let the White House off the hook. Only 43 percent are satisfied with the way the Obama administration has handled the matter in the past few months; half are dissatisfied," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
The poll was conducted Monday and Tuesday, almost entirely before the Tuesday evening release of an independent review of the September 11 attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that cited "systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies" at the State Department. The failures resulted in a security plan "that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place," the 39-page, unclassified version of the report concluded.
The poll indicates a strong partisan divide on the issue, with three-quarters of Democrats satisfied with the administration's handling of the matter, and 58 percent of independents and 83 percent of Republicans dissatisfied. Only 5 percent of Democrats think the administration was trying to mislead the public in the days following the attack, with independents divided and more than seven in ten Republicans saying officials were intentionally trying to mislead Americans.
The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International Dec. 17-18, with 620 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.
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