55% of Americans Say IRS Scandal Raises Doubts About Obama’s Integrity

Democrats have been mostly on the defensive since 2009-2010 and you can see some of the cracks in the armor.

Barack Obama

And the other 45% never had any doubts to begin with. There's a pair of polls coming out suggesting that the IRS scandal has more traction than some expected it to have.

The worst news for Obama comes from an NBC/WSJ poll that shows a majority have their suspicions about the depth of his involvement in the targeting of opposition groups.

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released early Wednesday showed that 55 percent of Americans believe the agency’s improper targeting raises doubts about the Obama administration’s honesty and integrity. But the same NBC/WSJ poll found that only 33 percent believe Obama is “totally” or “mainly” responsible for the targeting.

It's safe to say that 33 percent is mainly conservative, but the 55 percent shows there's some spillover into non-Republican territory.  And the number climbs to 58 percent when the question turns to Benghazi. The poll also shows the Tea Party getting a slight bump in popularity.

The news isn't exactly summer roses in the other poll either.

The latest Bloomberg National Poll released Tuesday evening showed that 47 percent of Americans don’t believe Obama’s claim that he wasn’t aware the IRS was targeting conservative groups for additional scrutiny, while 40 percent believe he is telling the truth.

You can write those results off as straightforwardly partisan, but it's more complicated than that.

More than half of political independents -- 53 percent -- say Obama’s explanation that he learned it from media reports is untrue, while 34 percent say they believe him.

“How could he not know?” said poll respondent June Wilshusen, 50, of Yuma, Colorado, a political independent and a stay-at-home wife married to a machinist. “I think any president has to know what’s going on with our government. I think they’re very aware of the IRS.”
For him to say he read it in the paper like any common man would just doesn’t make sense,” said poll respondent Austin Price, 18, a recent high school graduate in Harrisburg, Illinois, and a political independent.

Obama lost independents last time around. And increasingly independent is becoming leaning Republican. It would be an advantage if Republicans were better at making use of it. And it shows that Obama 2.0 is trending the way Bush 2.0 did, to a partisan divide that eventually tips over into a backlash over growing frustrations. Think of the Turkish Summer without all the rioting.

The portion of seniors who believe the country is on the wrong track rose to 70 percent from 60 percent in February.

Americans disapproved, by 51 percent to 31 percent, of Obama’s handling of the ongoing controversy about the attack in Benghazi, Libya, where four Americans -- including the U.S. ambassador -- were killed last September by terrorists. The question was not included in prior polls.

Views of congressional Democrats improved, with 43 percent having a favorable impression, up from 41 percent who said so last September.

This may look like a partisan stalemate, but remember that being on the defensive all the time is wearing. Even when you have the media mostly in your pocket.

Democrats have been mostly on the defensive since 2009-2010 and you can see some of the cracks in the armor. Republicans became worn out defending Bush halfway through his second term. Fatigue is setting on the Democratic side and once it settles in, it will become much easier to tip over Obama Inc.