Poll: Americans more interested in 'fiscal cliff' than Benghazi, Israel or Petraeus

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Democrats and Republicans are equally likely to be closely following the fiscal cliff debate, although Republicans are more likely to be attuned to the three international stories. Republicans who say they are following the story "very closely" outpace Democrats on the Petraeus investigation 28 to 21 percent and on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict 34 to 23 percent.

Unsurprisingly, Republicans are twice as likely to be following the Benghazi investigation, which has received heavy coverage in the conservative press. Some 42 percent of Republicans say they have been following that story closely, versus just 21 percent of Democrats.

Independents, meanwhile, are most likely to be attuned to the fiscal cliff debate (31 percent) and the conflict in the Middle East (28 percent).

Despite few Americans admitting that they have paid close attention to the brewing Petraeus scandal, some three in 10 say that the news is of "great importance to the nation," while a full 62 percent say it is of at least some importance.

That number is higher than the 52 percent of Americans who said former President Clinton's affair with intern Monica Lewinsky was of at least some importance in February of 1998, shortly after the relationship was revealed.

Americans also seemed generally surprised by the Petraeus affair, with that adjective narrowly beating out "disappointed" and "shocked" when respondents were asked for their initial reaction.