Americans who have been following the attacks on U.S. embassies and consulates in the Middle East and the killing of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens in Libya view President Obama’s handling of the situation more favorably than rival Mitt Romney’s response, according to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center.
It was another morsel of bad news for the Romney team, which was hit on Sunday night with a Politico story about internal strife affecting the campaign.
Almost half of respondents in the Pew poll--45 percent--said they approved of how Obama has dealt with the crisis abroad, while 36 percent said they disapproved. Only 26 percent said they approved of Romney’s comments on the situation while nearly 48 percent registered their disapproval. Romney’s factually erroneous statement, issued as events were unfolding in Cairo and Benghazi, Libya, has come under criticism from all sides.
As expected, the poll found a partisan split in perceptions of the election-year issue. However, while 75 percent of Democrats approved of the way Obama reacted, only 58 percent of Republicans said they approved of their nominee’s comments.
The survey also found that the current anti-American uprisings in the Middle East are among the most closely-followed foreign news stories of the year. Forty-three percent of respondents said they were following the story very closely, higher than the 42 percent of participants that said they were following the 2012 election and the 38 percent who said they were following the economy very closely. Before this, a June Pew survey found that the most closely-followed foreign news story of 2012 was the sinking of a cruise ship off the coast of Italy.
The Pew poll of 1,001 adults was conducted Sept. 13-16. Its margin of error was plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.