The Washington Times - June 17, 2013, 06:30AM

Amid swirling scandals, President Obama’s approval rating has dropped to 45 percent — his lowest rating in more than a year and a half — a new poll released Monday said.

The figure in a new CNN/ORC International poll represents an 8-point drop from mid-May as Mr. Obama’s administration deals with the IRS improperly targeting conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status; the lingering fallout from the handling of the the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya; and the National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Justice collecting data from Americans’ phone calls and phone logs from The Associated Press.


“It is clear that revelations about NSA surveillance programs have damaged Obama’s standing with the public, although older controversies like the IRS matter may have begun to take their toll as well,” CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said.

More than half of Americans — 50 percent to 49 percent — do not think Mr. Obama is honest and trustworthy; in May, 58 percent thought those words applied to him and 41 percent thought they did not apply.

Thirty-five percent of Americans approve of the way Mr. Obama is handling government surveillance of U.S. citizens compared to 61 percent who disapprove. Those numbers are, in fact, worse than figures for President George W. Bush from a poll taken in May 2006, when he had a 39/52 approval disapproval split on the issue.

Still, 51 percent say the Obama administration was right to gather and analyze Americans’ phone calls in order to locate suspected terrorists, with the question couched with the information that the government says it has analyzed the phone numbers called but has not listened to the calls. Forty-eight percent say the administration was wrong in gathering the information.

About two-thirds of those polled think the administration was right in gathering information from major internet companies involving people in other countries to try to locate suspected terrorists.

The CNN/ORC International survey of 1,014 American adults was conducted from June 11-13. The margin of error of the poll is 3 percentage points.