The federal government may have decided to let Hillary Clinton off the hook for her “extreme carelessness” with classified information as Secretary of State, but, as recent polling shows, the voters most certainly have not. Since the end of June, and particularly after FBI Director James Comey’s press conference last week announcing the decision not to recommend charges against her, Clinton’s poll numbers have dropped dramatically.
Jon Schweppe noted the Quinnipiac polls yesterday showing Donald Trump’s gains in Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, where voters in each state consider Trump the more honest and trustworthy candidate now by margins of ten to fifteen points. Clinton’s lead in national polling has likewise shrunk dramatically since the end of June, with her lead nearly cut in half over the past few weeks.
Three weeks ago, for example, Clinton led the NBC/SurveyMonkey weekly poll by eight points. The next week, she led by five. By last week, her lead had dwindled to three points. Other polls confirm the trend: Trump’s two-point lead in the previous Rasmussen poll has now grown to seven, Clinton’s six-point lead in last month’s CBS/Times poll has disappeared entirely, and so on, and so forth.
The reason for this drop is clear from the polling: in the most recent YouGov poll, 61 percent described her conduct in the e-mail scandal as wrong, 57 percent as dishonest, and 55 percent as illegal, up from 48 percent in May. Her ratings on honesty in the CBS/NYT poll fell to their lowest point yet this election cycle. The NBC poll found that a majority of voters disagreed with Comey’s decision to recommend against pressing charges, while 47 percent of respondents in the CBS poll expressed little or no confidence in the investigation’s impartiality.
The only question that remains is how damaging this will be for Clinton in the long term.
Danny Cannon works for the American Principles Project.