Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Good News - and the Bad News - for Obama in Scandal-Tinged Polls

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Good News - and the Bad News - for Obama in Scandal-Tinged Polls

Article excerpt

Given the battering President Obama took this past week on a trio of political scandals, any public opinion survey results that aren't dreadful probably are viewed with some relief at the White House.

That may be the clearest message from a CNN/ORC poll released Sunday morning.

According to the survey, which was conducted Friday and Saturday, 53 percent of Americans say they approve of the job the president is doing, with 45 percent saying they disapprove, CNN reports. That's actually a tick better than the 51 percent approval rating Obama had in early April - but not enough to break out the sparkling cider.

"That two-point difference is well within the poll's sampling error, so it is a mistake to characterize it as a gain for the president," says CNN polling director Keating Holland. "Nonetheless, an approval rating that has not dropped and remains over 50 percent will probably be taken as good news by Democrats after the events of the last week."

For those of you blissfully unaware, those events are the administration's handling of the terrorist attack on the US diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, last November (where US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed); the IRS badgering of tea party and other conservative organizations; and the Justice Department snooping into the telephone records of Associated Press journalists as part of a crackdown on national security leaks.

(We would add to that trio a fourth item reported in recent days: losing track of a couple of terrorists in the federal witness protection program.)

Gallup's latest numbers track closely with CNN's - a slight improvement for Obama to 51-42 approve/disapprove.

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For now, as the headline on an AP story puts it, "Obama agenda seems to be weathering controversies."

"Despite Democratic fears, predictions of the demise of President Barack Obama's agenda appear exaggerated after a week of cascading controversies, political triage by the administration and party leaders in Congress and lack of evidence to date of wrongdoing close to the Oval Office," writes AP special correspondent David Espo.

That could change, of course, given the possibility of new revelations, Republican intransigence, or both. …

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