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Poll: Americans Split Over Benghazi Issue

Americans appear to be split over the Obama administration's handling of the aftermath from the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others, according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

But the survey showed that fewer than half of Americans (44 percent) said they followed the hearings "very or fairly closely," a percentage virtually unchanged since late January, when then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified about the attack.

In the nationwide survey of 1,000 adults, 40 percent said the White House has been generally dishonest when it comes to providing information on the attack in Libya, which was at first widely described as the result of mob violence but later as a terrorist attack. The day after the attack, President Obama described it as an "act of terror."

Overall, 37 percent of those surveyed said the Obama administration was being honest on the issue. Not surprisingly, the breakdown fell mostly along partisan lines, with 70 percent of Republicans calling the administration dishonest, while 62 percent of Democrats said the White House has been honest.

A separate survey by Public Policy Polling found that a majority (56 percent) of 576 voters questioned nationwide believe that Congress should be more focused on issues other than Benghazi.

The PPP survey also found that 39 percent could not identify the country that Benghazi is located in.

Respondents in the PPP poll were also evenly split (44 percent each way) over whether Benghazi or Iran-Contra was the bigger political scandal.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit www.npr.org.

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