By Friday, as the Obama promoters within the network news divisions started spreading the president's word that three growing scandals are just a blip, they might point to Gallup's daily job-approval ratings for Obama, which remained at 49 percent approve, 45 percent disapprove.
This result might also reflect that Gallup found that a slim majority of Americans are either "very" or "somewhat" following news of the IRS and Benghazi scandals, "comparatively low based on historical measures of other news stories over the last two decades." Low-information voters could still obsess about Angelina Jolie's surgeries or whether Beyonce is pregnant again:
Despite extensive news coverage of these stories in recent days, the level of attention being paid to each is below the average 60% of Americans who have closely followed more than 200 news stories Gallup has measured over the past several decades. Additionally, Americans appear to be paying almost exactly the same levels of attention to both stories, despite the relative newness of the IRS story during the time in which this survey was in the field.
Republicans are much more likely to say they are following these news stories closely than are independents or in particular Democrats. There is a 21-percentage-point gap between Republicans and Democrats in terms of following the Benghazi story closely, and a 27-point gap on the IRS story.
Two-thirds of Republicans (67 and 66 percent) said they were following the scandals, while 40 percent of Democrats said they were following IRS-gate and 45 percent on Benghazi.
Here as an important poll number that the networks ought to stare at before the Matthews Tinglers take over the story: Majorities of all Republicans, Democrats, and independents agree or strongly agree that the IRS situation needs investigation. Just under half of Democrats and a majority of Republicans and independents believe Benghazi should be investigated.
When these groups are combined, only tiny minorites disagree or strongly disagree that these scandals aren’t serious and don’t require public attention. On the IRS, only nine percent disagree and eight percent strongly disagree that the story is serious. On Benghazi, it’s a little higher: seven percent disagree, 14 percent strongly disagree.
Journalists should understand that the public thinks this is serious enough for more investigation, more journalism – and not the kind where they start announcing the White House thinks this is “just a blip,” let’s move on.