President Barack Obama’s approval rating took a hit amid three controversies surrounding his administration, including an investigation into the Internal Revenue Service unfairly targeting conservative groups seeking nonprofit status, a new poll Thursday showed.
Obama has a 45 percent approval rating and a 49 percent disapproval rating — compared with a 48 percent approval, 45 percent disapproval rating from May 1, according to the Quinnipiac University poll.
In particular, Obama plunged among independent voters. Only 37 percent of independents approve of him while 57 percent disapprove, Quinnipiac found. At the start of the month, 42 percent of independents approved and 48 percent disapproved. Nine percent of GOPers approve of Obama, 86 percent disapprove. Among Democrats, 87 percent approve, 8 percent disapprove.
Quinnipiac’s results stand in contrast to Gallup, which has found that Obama’s approval rating has gone largely unchanged since the IRS scandal and other controversies. According to its Gallup Daily Tracking poll, the president has a 50 percent approval and 43 percent disapproval.
Meanwhile, 76 percent of American voters think an independent prosecutor should investigate the IRS controversy, including 63 percent of Democrats, 88 percent of GOPers and 78 percent of independents.
“There is overwhelming bipartisan support for a special prosecutor to investigate the IRS,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “Voters apparently don’t like the idea of Attorney General Eric Holder investigating the matter himself, perhaps because they don’t exactly think highly of him. Holder gets a negative 23 – 39 percent job approval rating.”
The Obama administration has been heavily criticized in wake of concerns that the IRS unfairly went after conservative groups; for the Department of Justice looking at The Associated Press reporters’ phone records; and also for its handling of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack at the U.S. post in Benghazi, Libya, in which ambassador Chris Stevens was killed.
Of the three controversies, 44 percent of voters say the IRS probe is the most important, followed by 24 percent who picked Benghazi and 15 percent who picked the DOJ.
From May 22 to 28, Quinnipiac polled 1,419 registered voters and it has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points.