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Published On: Wed, May 22nd, 2013

New poll shows Americans believe White House knew or directed IRS targeting of religious and political groups

Voters are concerned about the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative political groups and religious groups for unfair treatment, and over half think the White House either knew it was happening or — worse yet — was actually behind the operation.  

That’s according to a Fox News poll released Tuesday.

irs-tax-exempt stats from IG report FOx News coverageThe White House offered a new account Monday of how and when it learned that the Internal Revenue Service had improperly targeted conservative groups, saying that some senior officials were informed of the findings but that President Obama was not. This confession was not part of the polling, but aligns with public perception.

Most voters think the White House was involved in the IRS scandal in some way:  37 percent think the administration knew it was going on but didn’t initiate the policy, while another 29 percent believe the White House directed the IRS to go after those groups.  

About a quarter (24 percent) says the White House had absolutely nothing to do with what the IRS was doing.    

Almost all of those who identify with the Tea Party movement think the White House was involved:  58 percent think the administration intentionally had them targeted, and 31 percent believe that while the White House knew about the unfair treatment, it wasn’t behind it.  

White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler told White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and other top officials about the IRS findings nearly a month ago, press secretary Jay Carney said Monday.

Confidence in the IRS has dropped significantly.  The poll finds 42 percent of voters have “a great deal” (7 percent) or “some” (35 percent) confidence in the agency.  That’s down from 62 percent who had at least some confidence in the IRS in May 2003 (the last time the Fox News poll asked Americans to rate the IRS).

Seventy-eight percent of voters are concerned that certain groups have been singled out, including 50 percent who are “very” concerned and 28 percent “somewhat” concerned.  

Even more — 84 percent — are worried individual Americans could receive the same unfair treatment (61 percent “very” and 23 percent “somewhat” concerned).

The poll asked about three current Obama administration controversies.  A 32-percent plurality says the IRS scandal is the worst, followed by Benghazi (27 percent) and the Justice Department seizing the phone records of reporters (21 percent).  

Democrats (26 percent) and independents (28 percent) are more than twice as likely as Republicans (11 percent) to say the Justice Department controversy is the worst.  

The IRS scandal tops the list for both Republicans (39 percent) and Democrats (28 percent).  Still, Republicans are more likely to pick it as the most troubling by an 11-point margin.  

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 1,013 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from May 18 to May 20.  The full poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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  1. CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON says:

    BY NOW, I THINK EVERYONE KNOWS I DO NOT LIKE THE KENYAN BECAUSE OF HIS SKIN COLOR. CAUCASIAN MALES SHOULD BE THE ONLY ONES TO LEAD FEDERAL-, STATE- AND LOCAL-GOVERNMENTS.

    BUT – WITH THE EXCEPTION OF POSSIBLE PROSECUTION RELATING TO “BIRTHER” ISSUES – I WANT THE KENYAN TO BE TREATED FAIRLY.

    ALL POLITICIANS HAVE “PORK PROJECTS.” SO, I DO NOT BELIEVE THE KENYAN KNEW ABOUT Internal Revenue Service’s probe INTO CONSERVATIVE GROUPS BECAUSE OF AN ARTICLE PUBLISHED AT, Global Dispatch. IF IT IS TRUE THAT THE KENYAN WAS BORN IN HAWA’II, I DO NOT BELIEVE HE WOULD HAVE ALLOWED Dylan Nonaka of the Hawa’ii Republican Party TO HAVE BEEN INVESTIGATED.

    HAWA’II AND ILLINOIS SHOULD BE “OFF-LIMITS,” IF THE KENYAN WANTS TO KEEP A SENSE OF KINSHIP.

    CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON

  2. CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON says:

    THE OTHER DAY ON C-SPAN I WATCHED A “CALL-IN” PROGRAM ON 501(c)3- AND 501(c)4 ORGANIZATIONS. A CHURCH IS A 501(c)3 ORGANIZATION WHICH DOES CHARITABLE WORK FOR NON-PROFIT; DONATIONS ARE TAX-DEDUCTIBLE. AN ORGANIZATION (LIKE, Tea Party) IS A 501(c)4 ORGANIZATION WHOSE SOLE PURPOSE IS TO PROMOTE SOCIAL WELFARE; AND, A 501(c)4 GROUP CAN SUPPORT A POLITICAL CAMPAIGN AND THE ELECTION PROCESS. DONORS TO 501(c)4 GROUPS USUALLY REMAIN PUBLICALLY ANONYMOUS AND THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS ARE USUALLY NOT TAX-DEDUCTIBLE.

    ON C-SPAN’s “CALL-IN” SHOW, DEMOCRATS WERE SCREAMING, “The Tea Party is active in politics! … anyone can see that!” BUT, IN THE NEGRO CHURCH, PREACHERS OFTEN TELL THEIR FLOCK WHO TO VOTE FOR.

    THIS POLL IS SKEWED BECAUSE IT SEEMS ONLY CONSERVATIVES WERE POLLED. BUT, THE RESULT PROBABLY WOULD BE THE SAME IF ALL POLITICAL IDEOLOGIES WERE REPRESENTED BECAUSE MOST AMERICANS DO NOT UNDERSTAND HOW THE “VOICE OF THE PEOPLE” TRANSFORMS TO THE NATIONWIDE [OR, LOCAL-/STATE-WIDE] DEGREE NEEDED FOR THE DESIRED OUTCOME.

    CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON

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