Poll: Benghazi committee low on public's radar

Only about two in 10 people have a close watch on the House select committee's investigation of the 2012 Benghazi attack and its upcoming hearings, according to a new poll. 

The Gallup survey released Tuesday found 19 percent of respondents said they were following the news very closely while 24 percent said they were following it somewhat closely. 

Another 26 percent said they are not following the news closely, while 31 percent said they are not following it at all. 

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The U.S. capture on Sunday of the first suspect in the attack, Ahmed Abu Khattala, could change the news interest however, Gallup notes. 

Not much news has surfaced about the committee since it was established in early May. The poll was conducted prior to the capture.  

The Benghazi investigation ranks near the bottom of the list of surveys of other large news events dating back to 1991, according to Gallup. The polling company found that about 60 percent of people on average say they pay attention very or somewhat closely to major news events.

Only 43 percent are tracking the new Benghazi committee in that way. 

Democrats have called the new inquiry a political stunt to damage former secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is seen as a likely candidate for president. They point to a number of other inquiries both chambers and the State Department have conducted.   

Nonetheless, more people than not approve of the committee, though there is no outright majority. 

Forty-five percent approve, while 38 percent disapprove. Eighteen percent have no opinion. 

Seventy-five percent of Republicans approve, while 40 percent of independents and 30 percent of Democrats feel the same. 

Republicans are also following the news more closely than other parties. Fifty-eight percent of Republicans are tracking the news somewhat or very closely, compared to 41 percent of Independents and 31 percent of Democrats. 

In an analysis, Gallup concluded the committee could be a low-risk affair for Republicans with the comparatively low attention paid to it. 

"Should the hearings produce no new findings, they may be quickly forgotten, whereas if Republicans uncover new evidence that supports their claims of incompetence or cover-up by the administration, the public seems open to learning about it," Gallup writes. 

The poll surveyed 1,027 people from June 5-8 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.