Benghazi: Americans Continue to Be Concerned, But See Politics In Investigations

May 22, 2013, 2:00 PM GMT+0

(Week of 5/18/2013) Americans continue to be dismayed at the Administration’s handling of the September attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya but nearly two in three see politics in the continuing Congressional investigations of the event, according to the latest Economist/YouGov Poll.

A third thinks the investigations are mostly politically motivated and 30% say they are mostly a serious attempt to find out what really happened. And nearly a third describe them as equally fact-finding and politics. More than a third of Democrats think there is at least some seriousness to the investigations; more than a third of Republicans admit there is some politics involved.

But there is continued concern about how the Administration handled the attacks, and fewer say it gave out the facts as it learned them than think it deliberately misled the American people.

The evaluation of the President’s handling of Benghazi remains negative: 31% approve and 46% disapprove, not much different from last week. Looking ahead, there is also no change in confidence when it comes to the Administration and State Department taking steps to prevent future attacks. Less than half both this week and last are confident it has done this.

As for Hillary Clinton, who was Secretary of State during the attacks, she remains popular (and more popular than the President), even though more Americans disapprove than approve of how she handled the Benghazi attacks. This week, 32% approve of her handling of Benghazi, while 43% disapprove, slightly worse than last week. And her favorable rating is just under 50% this week. Last week, it was 54%.

However, Clinton is still the frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. She leads Vice President Joe Biden 64% to 11% among Democrats. Last week, the contest was a little closer: 59% of Democrats for Clinton and 9% for Biden. Independents also favor Clinton - but nearly half of them aren’t sure whom they favor, up from last week.