There's a new Quinnipiac poll out with findings about scandalmania that are drawing attention, including a ranking of the scandals (respondents answered that the IRS scandal is more important than Benghazi or the AP stories) and something that sounds very nice at the moment for Democrats: by a large margin, respondents say that the economy is more important than the scandals.
Ignore those polls!
First: people are notoriously terrible about predicting how events will affect their votes, or even their future opinions. People may say that the economy is more important than scandals...but if scandals are in the news constantly, people will pay attention, and they could well affect vote choice even if in some abstract sense voters don't "think" they are important. What's more, constant news coverage -- if it continues -- will strongly signal that a scandal is important, and people will respond accordingly.
Second: the polling that really tells us something about voters and the scandals so far is already out, with the president's approval ratings holding steady over the last month (actually, Pollster's average has had Obama's approval ratings on a slow decline since the beginning of the year, but setting it to "less smoothing" shows that decline has decelerated since mid-March, and certainly no apparent new movement since the IRS thing broke). Here, the Q poll has a low Obama approval number of 45%, down three ticks from May 1, but as always the polling averages are more useful, and they've already told as that nothing's happening.
Third: So we know that unlike, say, Iran-Contra, the current scandalmania is not having a significant direct effect on the president's popularity. But we also know that absent new revelations, each of these stories will be ancient and forgotten by the time voters engage in the 2014 election cycle. Really, then, what's needed is good guesses about the scandals themselves, and voters aren't in a particularly good position to make those guesses.
In other words, if it turns out that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton secretly worked with zombie bin Laden to plan and carry out Benghazi, then nothing voters say now about the IRS story being more important, or the economy trumping any of the scandals, will matter. If on the other hand Benghazi continues to be about parsing the difference between terror attacks and terrorist attacks...well, we've long known that no one apart from dedicated partisans cares about it.
All in all, other than tossing another number into the approval averages, I think we're safe ignoring this stuff. Given that scandalmania isn't doing anything significant now, the way that people rank the individual stories or how they compare them to other vote factors just isn't telling us anything.