Poll Shows Obama’s Approval Inching Up Despite Scandals

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May 20, 2013 6:03 a.m.

A recent string of scandals have threatened to beset President Barack Obama’s second term, but the latest CNN/ORC International poll released Sunday found that he has yet to pay a price in his approval rating for them.

In fact, Obama’s approval rating of 53 percent among American adults in the poll amounts to a 2-point bump since the previous CNN/ORC poll a month ago. Forty-five percent said they disapprove of Obama’s job performance, down two points since last month. Two months ago, the CNN/ORC poll showed Obama with an upside-down approval rating: 47 percent said they approved of the President while half said they disapproved.But the latest poll also indicated the public is taking the President’s problems seriously. A huge majority — 71 percent — said the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups was “unacceptable” and 52 percent said the same of the Justice Department’s seizure of Associated Press phone records. Fifty-three percent said they are dissatisfied with the way the Obama administration has handled last year’s deadly attack in Benghazi, Libya. More than half of Americans said that Republicans are reacting appropriately to both the IRS scandal and the Benghazi investigation.

Yet the poll showed that Americans are still willing to give the White House the benefit of the doubt. Sixty-one percent said that Obama’s public comments about the IRS have been “mostly” or “completely” true and only 37 percent believe that the White House ordered agency officials to target conservative groups. Half of Americans believe that the inaccurate talking points used after the attack in Benghazi “reflected what the Obama administration believed at the time had occurred based on the unclassified information available.”

The PollTracker Average shows Obama’s job approval rating slightly above 50 percent, as it has been for much of the stretch following last year’s election.

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