Regardless of their party affiliation, Americans think the Internal Revenue Service was wrong to target conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status, and that it was done for political reasons and not because officials felt it was the right policy to pursue, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.
But the public is divided along party lines when assigning the blame for the scrutiny of the Tea Party and other conservative groups. Over all, 4 in 10 (including two-thirds of Democrats) think the I.R.S. acted on its own in investigating the conservative groups while slightly more (including 7 in 10 Republicans) say the Obama administration was involved. Those following the scandal closely and Tea Party supporters were significantly more likely than those who were not to say that the scrutiny was politically motivated.