Do Americans care about the IRS and Benghazi scandals?

Keith Wagstaff
The Week

It depends on whom you ask

Last week, Saturday Night Live aired a skit in which Republicans trotted out convicted murderer Jodi Arias in an attempt to boost the public's interest in the Benghazi hearings (watch below).

Turns out SNL's writers were on to something: The Benghazi scandal has not exactly captivated America. According to a new Gallup poll, 53 percent of Americans are following the Benghazi situation very or somewhat closely, with 54 percent saying the same about the IRS scandal.

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"The amount of attention Americans are paying to the IRS and the Benghazi situations is well below the average for news stories Gallup has tracked over the years," writes the report's author, Frank Newport.

The reason? Both Democrats and independent voters are not very interested in either scandal. Only 40 percent of Democrats and 55 percent of independents said they are following the IRS scandal very or somewhat closely.

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Republicans, on the other hand, can't seem to get enough. A full 67 percent of them are following the IRS scandal, and 66 percent are keeping up with the Benghazi situation.

The percentage of people who agree that the IRS and Benghazi situations "involve serious matters that need to be investigated" break down similarly along party lines:

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Newport notes that Democratic voters are taking the IRS scandal more seriously because they might be "following the administration's lead in putting greater emphasis on the importance of the IRS crisis," which included Obama firing acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller on Wednesday.

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