A few notes and observations from Fox News' latest national poll:
(1) Hillary Clinton's favorable rating among registered voters is underwater (45/49), driven by an 11-point drop among self-described independents over the last year. Chris Wallace breaks down the numbers:
(2) In hypothetical head-to-head general election match-ups, Clinton trails Jeb Bush (45/44), but holds modest leads (three to six points) over most other potential Republican rivals.
(3) Dr. Ben Carson's formal entry into the GOP field made a splash; he leaped into a first-place tie with Jeb Bush (each at 13 percent). From there, it's Scott Walker (11 percent), Mike Huckabee (ten percent), Marco Rubio (nine percent)., and Rand Paul (seven percent).
(4) President Obama's job approval tracked up slightly, to (44/51). A majority of Americans still disapprove of his performance as president. His economic rating is approaching parity at (46/49), buoyed by decent job growth -- although labor force participation rates, median household income figures, GDP growth and consumer confidence remain stubborn cross-currents. This also isn't an encouraging sign.
(5) By a 20-point margin, voters believe Hillary Clinton was influenced by foreign donations to her family's "slush fund," though roughly half of respondents say they're not paying much or any attention to the controversy. Just one-third of voters describe the allegations of quid pro quo and influence peddling "no big deal." These people are known as the Democratic base.
(6) Americans remain supportive of Congress' investigation into the Benghazi attacks (56/38), virtually unchanged from late last year. Trey Gowdy's select committee uncovered Hillary's secret email scheme in the course of its work, and is currently tussling with Mrs. Clinton over testifying. A majority of voters (55 percent) say the former Secretary of State deserves at least some blame for the deadly terrorist attack against a US compound on September 11, 2012.
(7) Most Americans say the federal government has been run incompetently under President Obama, though that gap has narrowed a bit to (44/53). A 24-point majority believes the US economy remains in a recession, also an improvement over recent months. The partisan sample of this survey was D+4.