Is there public support for a Sestak-Romanoff probe? Poll casts doubt. 

Republican investigators in the House and the Senate are working on a number of fronts to discover more information about White House political dealmaking involving Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak and Colorado Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff.  But a new Rasmussen poll finds that the public is not particularly excited by the issue.  “Voters express only modest concern and hardly any surprise about the secret job offers made by the Obama White House,” writes Rasmussen Reports.  The poll found that 44 percent of voters say the job offers are typical among politicians of both parties.  Nineteen percent say the political deal-making is not typical, and 37 percent are not sure.

In addition, Rasmussen found that voters don’t know much about the specifics of the offers.  Most troubling for the GOP is that most of those surveyed don’t know that the Sestak-Romanoff matters involve Democrats, and not both parties.

The results suggest Republicans will have a hard time trying to stir up public support for further investigation.  (Without majorities in either House or Senate, the GOP can’t compel the White House or the Obama administration to hand over any documents.)  But Republicans see things a little differently.  To them, the polls show that there may be support for investigating the Sestak-Romanoff matters because they are representative of the kind of Washington deal-making the public hates, not because they are out of the ordinary.

“It’s very clear that the American people see the Sestak-Romanoff controversies as business-as-usual which, for an administration that ran as an agent of change, is nothing short of an indictment on their lackluster effort to be more transparent and accountable,” says Kurt Bardella, spokesman for Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, who is investigating the matter in the House.  “While more than 6 in 10 voters nationally have been following the issue, in Pennsylvania, nearly three-out-of-four voters say they have been following the issue, with more than half saying the issue is at least somewhat important in how they’ll vote in November.  The damage that has been done to the Obama ‘brand’ is even more telling with 66 percent of voters believing that the current White House is either less ethical or about the same as its predecessors.”

It’s true that the Sestak matter, in particular, could have an effect in Pennsylvania.  But nationally?  So far, it looks like the answer is no.  No — unless Republicans win control of the House in November.  With that control comes the power to hold hearings and subpoena testimony and documents, and that could change the story quite a bit.

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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