IRS Poll Finds More Americans Think White House Ordered Tea Party Targeting

Poll Spells Bad News For Obama

More Americans now think that senior White House officials ordered the Internal Revenue Service to target tea party groups, despite no evidence so far that they did.

A CNN/ORC International poll released Tuesday found that 47 percent believe that the White House directed the targeting, and 49 percent believe the agency acted on its own. That is up ten points from May, when 37 percent believed that the targeting of tea party groups' tax-exempt status came from the White House and 55 percent disagreed.

However, slightly fewer Americans see the controversy as "very important" -- 55 percent did in May, while 51 percent do now. The same survey showed an 8-point drop in President Barack Obama's approval ratings.

A recent HuffPost/YouGov poll found that Americans were split on whether the Obama administration knew about the targeting, by a margin of 36 percent to 37 percent. (Twenty-six percent were unsure.)

Despite the 10-point shift in numbers, there has been no evidence to show a link from the targeting to the White House. The Treasury Department Inspector General report released on May 14 stated that there had been no involvement outside the agency. Since then, Washington-based IRS supervisor Holly Paz revealed that she had been involved in scrutinizing some of the applications but provided no evidence that the Obama administration had also been involved. Even Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), often a critic of the administration, said earlier this month that he had seen "no evidence" that orders came from the White House.

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Former House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio)

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