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CNN Poll: Obama approval falls amid controversies

Posted at 7:45 AM, Jun 17, 2013

WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Barack Obama’s approval rating dropped eight percentage points over the past month, to 45 percent, the president’s lowest rating in more than a year and a half, according to a new national poll.

The CNN/ORC International survey released Monday morning comes as the White House has been reacting to controversies over a massive U.S. government surveillance program, the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of tea party and other conservative groups who applied for tax exempt status, the administration’s handling and reaction to last September’s attack in Benghazi that left the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans dead, and the Justice Department’s secret collection of journalists’ phone records as part of a government investigation into classified leaks.

The poll indicates that for the first time in his presidency, half of the public says they don’t believe Obama is honest and trustworthy. And Americans are split on the controversial National Security Agency anti-terrorism program to record metadata on U.S. phone calls, but they support the NSA program that targets records of internet usage by people in other countries. That doesn’t mean they necessarily like what is going on: Just over six in ten believe that government is so large and powerful that it threatens the rights and freedoms of ordinary Americans.

A slight majority of those questioned in the poll, which was conducted Tuesday through Thursday of last week, disapprove of the actions of the man who leaked sensitive information about the NSA program. And an similar amount say Edward Snowden, who fled to Hong Kong, should be brought back to the U.S. and prosecuted.

–CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report