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The good news – and the bad news – for Obama in scandal-tinged polls

President Obama's approval rating has not slipped in public opinion polls despite a trio of political scandals. But most Americans don't think much of the way the administration has handled the issues, and they believe further investigation is justified.

By Staff writer / May 19, 2013

President Obama speaks in Baltimore on Friday. New polls give Mr. Obama mixed reviews on job performance, including White House handling of current scandals.

Kevin Lamarque/REUTERS

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Given the battering President Obama took this past week on a trio of political scandals, any public opinion survey results that aren’t dreadful probably are viewed with some relief at the White House.

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That may be the clearest message from a CNN/ORC poll released Sunday morning.

According to the survey, which was conducted Friday and Saturday, 53 percent of Americans say they approve of the job the president is doing, with 45 percent saying they disapprove, CNN reports. That’s actually a tick better than the 51 percent approval rating Obama had in early April – but not enough to break out the sparkling cider.

"That two-point difference is well within the poll's sampling error, so it is a mistake to characterize it as a gain for the president," says CNN polling director Keating Holland. "Nonetheless, an approval rating that has not dropped and remains over 50 percent will probably be taken as good news by Democrats after the events of the last week."

For those of you blissfully unaware, those events are the administration’s handling of the terrorist attack on the US diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, last September (where US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed); the IRS badgering of tea party and other conservative organizations; and the Justice Department snooping into the telephone records of Associated Press journalists as part of a crackdown on national security leaks.

(We would add to that trio a fourth item reported in recent days: losing track of a couple of terrorists in the federal witness protection program.)

Gallup’s latest numbers track closely with CNN’s – a slight improvement for Obama to 51-to-42 approve/disapprove.

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