Poll: Nearly half the country now believes the White House ordered IRS targeting of conservative groups

Poll: Nearly half the country now believes the White House ordered IRS targeting of conservative groups

Obama PoutingFool them once…. If President Obama thought last week was the worst of his presidency, he is in for a rude awakening, judging from a CNN/ORC International survey released this morning. In its own reporting on the poll, CNN notes:

A growing number of Americans believe that senior White House officials ordered the Internal Revenue Service to target conservative political groups.

The survey further indicates that a majority of the public now say they view the controversy, which involves increased IRS scrutiny of tea party and other conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, as “very important” to the nation.

The results of the survey are unsurprising in light of Obama’s declining approval ratings, a phenomenon which is driven in turn by a lack of trust stemming from revelations of the scope of NSA spying. Yesterday for the first time, a plurality of American voters said the president no longer has their trust.

Returning to the main theme, initially the White House attempted to whitewash the IRS scandal it as a low-level operation that originated with a handful of overzealous IRS officials in Cincinnati, where the agency’s tax exempt division is based. And it worked for a while. Last month only 37% of the public said they believed that the controversy might ultimately lead back to the White House, with 55% saying they believed that agency officials acted on their own without direct orders from Washington. Contrast those figures with the numbers released this morning, in which 47% say they are convinced that the administration masterminded the probe, while only 49% maintain their innocence.

Explaining the findings in greater detail, CNN Polling Director Keating Holland told the cable network:

Younger Americans are much less likely than older Americans to believe in White House involvement, and there is, not surprisingly, a partisan divide as well. But the Obama administration may be losing independents on this matter. In May, only 36% felt the White House ordered the IRS to target conservative groups; now that number has crossed the 50% threshold.

Fifty-one percent of those questioned said the IRS controversy is a very important issue to the nation, compared with 55% who held the same view in May.

If there is one positive for Obama and his minions, it is that during the past week and a half, the IRS story has received less media attention and has been less on the public’s mind. If there is a negative that cancels out that positive and then some, it is that the controversy over the federal government’s massive surveillance program has dominated the spotlight, further eroding support for the beleaguered president.

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.

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