(Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)
More Democratic voters disagree than agree with President Barack Obama's remark that there is "not even a smidgen of corruption" at the Internal Revenue Service in relation to the scandal involving the targeting and harassment of Tea Party, pro-life and evangelical groups, according to a new Fox News poll.
Fifty-one percent of Democrats agree there is corruption while 40 percent answered there is no corruption. Nine percent said they do not know. For comparison, 64 percent of the full sample said there is corruption.
The IRS has acknowledged that it inappropriately singled out Tea Party groups for additional scrutiny, but said its actions were not politically motivated. Lois Lerner, the IRS official overseeing the department where those actions occurred, has resigned and chose not to testify about the scandal, exercising her right to not incriminate herself.
When asked about the scandal in his Feb. 2 Super Bowl Sunday interview on Fox News, Obama told host Bill O'Reilly that there is "not even a smidgen of corruption" at the IRS. Rather, he said, the scandal was caused by "bone-headed decisions ... out of a local office."
The only reason some continue to believe there is a scandal, Obama added, is because Fox News continues to bring up the controversy.
Many liberal news sources covered the interview by celebrating Obama's blaming of Fox News. "Obama Slams Fox News In Bill O'Reilly Interview," a Huffington Post headline read.
Obama and those liberal news sources, though, do not appear to have convinced a majority of Democratic voters. The Fox News poll was conducted Feb. 9-11, a week after Obama's interview.
The poll also asked whether Congress should continue to investigate the IRS scandal. Sixty percent of Democrats answered "yes" while only 36 percent said "no." Seventy-one percent of the full sample answered "yes."
The poll sampled 1,006 registered voters. Forty percent of the sample identified themselves as a Democrat. The margin of error for the full sample is plus or minus three percentage points.