The latest Fox News poll, conducted by Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from June 21 to 23, is chock–full of bad news for President Barack Obama. His job approval rating is pegged at an anemic 41 percent. On fears about Iraq, only 32 percent said they approved of the president’s handling of foreign affairs – a historic low for this poll. Only 31 percent say they believe that Obama only learns of crises like the Department of Justice’s monitoring of journalists or the scandal surrounding the Veterans Affairs Democrats from the news. Even a plurality of Democratic respondents expressed skepticism at this regularly appealed to excuse for lack of foreknowledge from the White House.
An equally unimpressive 38 percent approve of Obama’s management of the economy and 41 percent approve of his performance on health care. But the most disturbing news in this latest poll from a Democratic perspective came when respondents were asked about the IRS’s targeting scandal.
When asked if survey respondents thought “Congress should continue to investigate the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of hundreds of conservative and tea party groups until someone is held accountable,” 74 percent agreed. That figure includes 86 percent of self-described Republicans, 65 percent of independents, and 66 percent of self-identified Democrats.
There is no gender gap; 74 percent of men and 75 percent of women agreed. There is no race gap; 76 percent of whites and 70 percent of blacks agree. Between 73 and 76 percent of every age group thinks someone should be held accountable for the targeting allegations. Even 67 percent of self-identified liberals want to see someone held responsible for this scandal.
Why such uniformity of opinion on the matter? It might have something to do with the fact that no one believes the IRS accidently lost their email records as the result of a cascading computer failure which the agency remedied by simply throwing the affected hardware away. When asked if they “believe the IRS that the emails were destroyed accidentally” or “they were destroyed deliberately,” 76 percent of survey respondents said the latter.
Only 11 percent of independents, 5 percent of Republicans, and 20 percent of Democrats managed to convince themselves that the IRS’s story was possible, if not likely. In the responses to this question, too, there are few gaps across demography or ideology. What’s most interesting here is the consistency of opinion across age groups. 82 percent of those under age 35, most of whom have grown up with email all their lives, do not believe the IRS’s emails disappeared. They are joined by 77 percent of those age 35-54, 71 percent of those age 55+, and 71 percent of those age 65+.
In light of these numbers, the obsequious nature in which House Democrats have slavishly pandered to IRS officials testifying before congressional investigators seems like an ill-conceived course of action. No one, not even their constituents, believe that the IRS is being subjected to a partisan investigation. Democrats would be better served by taking this investigation as seriously as the American public.