Almost three-fourths of Americans think it was “inappropriate” for the Internal Revenue Service to target Tea Party groups for extra scrutiny, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll out today. A majority of respondents said the government was harassing those organizations.
The survey of 1,001 adults showed 74 percent opposed the targeting of the Tea Party organizations that sought nonprofit status, while 20 percent said it was appropriate. Fifty-six percent said the government deliberately went after the groups while 31 percent said it was a bureaucratic mistake. Nonprofits incorporated under Section 501c4 of the U.S. tax code face limits on their political activity.
Respondents split 45 percent to 42 percent on whether the Obama administration was covering up the facts.
By an even larger margin, 55 percent to 33 percent, respondents said the Obama administration was covering up the facts around the attack on a U.S. facility in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four people, including the U.S. ambassador.
It’s no surprise then that more Americans, 54 percent to 38 percent, said they feel the government is doing more to threaten individual rights than to protect them.
Despite speeches, press releases and hearings, congressional Republicans have not been able to gain politically from the Obama administration stumbles, the poll found. Sixty percent of respondents said congressional Republicans were dealing with unimportant issues, while 51 percent said President Barack Obama was handling issues of importance to them. That mirrored Obama’s approval rating, 51 percent, with 44 percent disapproving.
The poll, taken May 16-19, had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.