Polls show controversies taking toll on Obama

President Obama, who has long enjoyed strong marks when it comes to his personal integrity, has lost a little mojo in light of recent scandals and controversies.

According to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, when asked about each of three current controversies -- Benghazi, the IRS scandal, and the Justice Department's monitoring of journalists -- at least 55 percent of respondents in each case say the scandal raises doubts about "the overall honesty and integrity of the Obama administration." And for each, at least 39 percent say it raises major doubts (with Benghazi the highest at 45 percent).

So far, the poll shows Americans aren't rushing to blame Obama directly. His approval has remained steady at 48 percent -- down slightly from earlier this year, though virtually unchanged from April.

But Americans so far are more inclined to believe the worst of the administration than its explanations for the controversies. They are more likely to say (43 percent to 29 percent) that the IRS scandal is part of a widespread campaign against conservative groups than that it was just a few officials misbehaving, and they side with journalists in the Justice Department controversy (48 percent say the monitoring was not appropriate, versus 27 percent who say it was appropriate).

The findings are backed up by a new Bloomberg poll, which shows nearly half of Americans -- 47 percent -- don't believe Obama is being truthful about the IRS scandal. A lower percentage -- 40 percent -- say he is being truthful.

Among independents, 53 percent don't believe the administration. And, overall, 48 percent say the targeting of conservative groups was politically motivated -- despite arguments to the contrary from the administration and former IRS employees.

Unlike the NBC/WSJ poll, the Bloomberg poll shows Obama's approval rating falling, from 55 percent in February to 49 percent today.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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