So much for “fringe” Republicans pursuing a “phony scandal.” Not only does the new House Select Committee on Benghazi get a majority of support in a new Washington Post/ABC poll (51/42), it gets support from almost a third of all Democratic respondents as well. An even larger majority of Americans believe that the White House conducted a cover-up in the aftermath of the attack that killed four Americans, including the first ambassador to be killed in the line of duty since the Carter administration:
Democrats in recent weeks weighed whether to abstain from involvement in House Republicans’ new Benghazi investigative committee, labeling it an unnecessary probe into questions that have already been answered.
The American people disagree.
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows a majority of Americans — 51 percent — approve of the new panel, while 42 percent disapprove. …
In fact, the number of Americans who think the Obama administration has covered things up (58 percent) is even larger than the number who want the investigation (51 percent). Americans say 58 to 32 percent that Obama has covered things up rather than being honest about what happened. That’s a bigger gap than last year, when it was 55 to 33 percent (though the shift is not statistically significant).
They don’t think too highly of Hillary Clinton, either. Her approval rating on Benghazi is 37/50, which considering the circumstances is not as bad as she might fear. That’s helped in large part by Democrats, though, of whom only 22% disapprove of her handling of Benghazi — even though she blamed the video for weeks, and was responsible for the lack of security and readiness that led to the US failures before and during the attack. Among independents, that number leaps to 58%. So far, her PR effort with Hard Choices on Benghazi seems to have only paid off among the already converted.
This cuts the ground out from under the feet of Democrats who wanted to treat this as a freak show. In the end they wised up and put people of some significance on the select committee to counter Trey Gowdy, whose expertise as a prosecutor will presumably be put to good effect. Elijah Cummings was appointed to the panel to expertly gum up the works and declare the whole effort an exercise in partisanship and redundancy, but that’s going to be a difficult argument to make with the clear mandate presented to the committee. Americans feel as though the White House has lied to them, 58% overall and a whopping 65% among independents (and even 30% of Democrats). If Democrats obstruct this panel’s work, that will only reinforce their perception of a cover-up, one extending to the whole Democratic Party and not just the White House.
The poll results aren’t terrific for Barack Obama either. His approval rating has risen incrementally, but is still 46/51. That falls to 43/53 on the economy, 41/50 on foreign policy, and 39/56 on ObamaCare implementation. The latter shows that the April victory lap was mostly a figment of the White House’s collective imagination.
The generic Congressional ballot gives Democrats a two-point edge at 47/45, but the sample itself is D+9. Among independents, it’s 42/43. The turnout model will be key in November, and it’s not likely to be D+9.