Obama approval ratings down amid political flaps
WASHINGTON, May 30, 2013 (AFP) - President Barack Obama's approval ratings took a hit over the past month as he wrestled with controversies over the IRS, Benghazi and the seizure of journalists' phone records, a poll showed Thursday, May 30.
The Quinnipiac poll found that 49% of those surveyed had a negative opinion of Obama's job performance, while 45% approved.
Those numbers were the near inverse of a poll on May 1 that found 48% approved of the job he was doing, while 45% did not.
The erosion in support tracked with a series of political tempests that have put Obama on the defensive on a variety of fronts.
The Internal Revenue Service, which collects US taxes, admitted May 10 that it had inappropriately singled out for extra scrutiny conservative Tea Party groups seeking tax-exempt status.
Leak of emails
The administration's handling of the September 11 attack on the US mission in Benghazi, Libya also was back in the news, with a leak of internal emails and congressional hearings.
Republicans have long accused the administration of deliberately playing down the attack, which killed 4 Americans including the ambassador, by initially portraying it as a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Muslim video.
The administration also has been on the defensive over revelations that the Justice Department secretly seized the phone records of Associated Press reporters as part of a leak investigation.
The disclosure that a Fox News reporter's emails also were seized in another leak investigation added fuel to the fire.
Quinnipiac said a majority of those surveyed had a negative opinion of Obama's handling of all three matters, with 51 percent giving a thumbs down on Benghazi and the IRS, and 55 percent in the AP case.
The White House said the numbers were not affecting the president's work.
"The truth is we're not looking at the day-to-day polls," deputy White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters aboard Air Force One as Obama returned to Washington from Chicago.
"What the president is focused on is the agenda that he's laid out -- putting the expansion of economic opportunity for middle-class families first. That is the president's overwhelming priority." - Rappler.com