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Voters split down the middle — literally — on Obama as uniter versus divider

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Forty seven percent of registered voters say President Obama has done more to unite the country while in office and 47 percent say he’s done more to divide it, according to a new Washington Post/ABC poll.

Mr. Obama has a 50 percent approval rating among registered voters, compared to 47 percent who disapprove. Among all adults polled, 51 percent approve of the job he’s doing and 47 percent disapprove. Forty-seven percent of adults say he’s done more to unite the country, and 45 percent say he’s done more to divide it.

While all of those surveyed are essentially split on Mr. Obama, they hold a much dimmer view of Congress. Thirty-three percent say Republicans in Congress are concentrating on things important to them personally, while 60 percent say they’re focused on things not important to them. The split for congressional Democrats is 43/50.

However, people are essentially split on congressional Republicans’ response to the Obama administration’s handling of the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks in Benghazi, Libya; 44 percent say the GOP is raising legitimate concerns, and 45 percent say they’re just engaging in political posturing.

But 55 percent say the Obama administration is trying to cover up the facts about Benghazi, compared to 33 percent who think the administration is honestly disclosing what it knows.

A majority — 54 percent — also say the federal government is doing more to threaten the rights of average Americans, compared to 36 percent who think the government is doing more to protect Americans’ rights.

Seventy-four percent say it was inappropriate for the IRS to single out some conservative groups for additional information on their tax status. Among those who think it was inappropriate, 51 percent think it was illegal. And 56 percent of all adults polled think it was a deliberate effort to harass the groups, compared to 31 percent who think it was an administrative mistake.

People are essentially divided on their thoughts regarding the Obama administration’s disclosure in the case; 42 percent think the administration is honestly disclosing what it knew and 45 percent think it’s trying to cover up the facts.

People are also divided on their views of the Tea Party movement; 40 percent support it somewhat and 43 percent oppose it strongly.

Thirty-three percent of those polled identified as Democrats, 22 percent as Republicans and 38 percent as independents. The survey of 1,001 adults was conducted May 16-19 and has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.

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