As it turns out, the Republican effort to stir up conspiracy theories around the September 11, 2012 attacks on the American mission in Benghazi isn’t resonating with most Americans. According to a new PPP Poll, a majority trust former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s handling of the Benghazi attacks — only Republican voters have rallied behind the idea that the Obama administration is involved in covering up the “truth” behind the Benghazi attacks.
A question posed to respondents asked, “Who do you trust more on the issue of Benghazi: Hillary Clinton or congressional Republicans?” — 49 percent said they trust Mrs. Clinton and 39 percent cited the Republicans. The poll also reports 57 percent of voters have an unfavorable view of congressional Republicans, while 52 percent have a favorable opinion of the former secretary.
Some Republican leaders, like Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), are convinced that “Benghazi-gate” will lead to President Obama’s impeachment. Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee told listeners on his radio show, “I believe that before it’s all over, this president will not fill out his full term. As bad as Watergate was because it broke the trust between the president and the people, no one died. This is more serious because four Americans did in fact die. And President Obama has yet to explain why did they die.”
According to the poll (PDF), 41 percent of Republican respondents believe Benghazi is the biggest scandal in American history, yet 40 percent of them could not identify where Benghazi is located. GOP leaders have somehow convinced their base that this is the scandal of the century and have turned “Benghazi” into a talking point, certain that if they continue shouting the word, voters will eventually pay attention, see the injustice, and mobilize behind the party to impeach Obama. What is even more astounding is the 72 and 58 percent of Republicans who said investigating Benghazi is more important than passing a bill requiring background checks for all gun sales or passing a comprehensive immigration reform bill, respectively.
Republicans have become obsessed with uncovering the “truth” behind Benghazi, insisting that the Obama administration is hiding emails that would directly tie them to the four American deaths, and after endless testimony and congressional hearings are still relentlessly in search of a smoking gun.
President Obama addressed what he referred to as a “sideshow” on Monday during a press conference with United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron. “If this was some effort on our part to try to downplay what had happened or tamp it down, that would be a pretty odd thing that three days later we end up putting out all the information that, in fact, has now served as the basis for everybody recognizing that this was a terrorist attack and that it may have included elements that were planned by extremists inside of Libya,” Obama said. “Who executes some sort of cover-up or effort to tamp things down for three days? The whole thing defies logic.”
While a majority of Americans do care about the four lives lost during the Benghazi terrorist attacks, this PPP poll raises two major points that will surely not sit well with Republicans. Overall, voters believe further investigation into Benghazi should not have priority over passing other important legislation — ensuring attacks don’t happen again is crucial, but chasing a conspiracy is a waste of time and resources. Despite attempts to denounce the former Secretary, the majority of voters still trust Hillary Clinton and believe her testimony. This grand effort to tarnish her name and approval rating before 2016 may in fact backfire on Republicans, who are struggling to reach an approval rating above 40 percent.