The public’s interest in the ongoing controversies surrounding the Internal Revenue Service and Benghazi is lower than comparable major news stories in the past, according to a Gallup survey released Friday.
Slim majorities say they’re closely following the twin controversies, with 54 percent tracking the IRS’s singling out of conservative groups and 53 percent paying attention to Benghazi. The levels of interest for both are below the 60 percent average Gallup says comparable news stories tend to generate, based on a 200 story spanning decades.
Twenty-two percent said they’re not following either story very closely, and 24 percent said they’re not following either story at all.
“The amount of attention Americans are paying to the IRS and the Benghazi situations is well below the average for news stories Gallup has tracked over the years,” Frank Newport, Gallup's editor in chief, wrote in his analysis of the data. “This overall lack of attention is due in part to Democrats' and, to a lesser degree, independents' lack of interest, which stands in sharp contrast to the significantly above-average attention among Republicans.”
Republicans are more engaged than Democrats or independents. Sixty-seven percent of GOP voters are closely watching the IRS situation, and 66 percent said the same about Benghazi. Those numbers drop to 55 and 52 for independents, and 40 and 45 for Democrats.
However, a majority of the public believes both matters deserve further investigation.
The Gallup survey of 1,022 adults was conducted on May 14 -15 and has a 4 percentage point margin of error.