Hillary Support Atrophying In Swing States, Voters Say She’s ‘Not Honest’

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Apr 10, 2015 11:15 AM
Hillary Support Atrophying In Swing States, Voters Say She’s ‘Not Honest’

Hillary Clinton will announce her candidacy sometime over the weekend, and it appears the email fiasco, among other things, has taken a toll on her numbers. Clinton’s strength is beginning to wane in the swing states of Virginia, Colorado, and Iowa, while Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has seen a surge in support.

In a new Quinnipiac poll, Sen. Paul leads Clinton in Colorado (44/41) and Iowa (43/32), but slightly trails her in Virginia (47/43). Clinton isn’t faring any better with the rest of the Republican field in Colorado.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who’s expected to make his presidential run official on April 13, leads her by one point, 41/40. Clinton is tied with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee at 41/41, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker leads 42/41 over the former first lady. The former secretary of state leads Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) by one point, 41/41. She’s virtually tied with the entire field. She only leads Bush 41/38 and Christie 41/39, albeit not by much. It’s within the margin of error.

In Iowa, the picture is not different. Clinton leads Christie 41/39, leads Bush 41/40, but trails Paul 43/42 and Walker 44/40. She ties with Huckabee 42/42, but leads Cruz and Rubio 43/40.

Virginia is where the former first lady does better. She has a massive seven-point lead over Walker 47/40, an eight-point lead over Huckabee and Rubio 48/40, and a six-point lead over Christie 46/40. She also leads Cruz by 10 49/39.

On the question about honesty and trustworthiness, Clinton has low marks. In Colorado, 56 percent of voters think she’s dishonest, with 51 percent saying the use of her private email account and server system during her time as Secretary of State is an important issue. Forty-two percent of voters say this controversy has made them less likely to vote for her. Of all the three states polled, Colorado has the highest percentage of voters who feel “serious questions remain” concerning Hillary’s use of a private emails system: 57 percent.

Yet, Republicans shouldn’t get too excited; 51 percent would view an investigation into her email system as politically motivated. 

In Iowa, 49 percent of voters say she’s not honest, with 37 percent saying it makes them less likely to vote for her. Voters here are split [50/49] as to whether this issue is important, but 53 percent of Iowans feel that an investigation into Clinton’s emails would be politically motivated, but 54 percent feel that “serious questions remain.”

In Virginia, it doesn’t get much better. Fifty-two percent thinks she dishonest, 51 percent consider the email controversy as important when casting their ballot, and 39 percent are less likely to vote for her because of it. Fifty-four percent of Virginians feel Clinton still has to answer questions about the email system, while 51 percent also mentioned that any congressional investigation into her emails would be politically motivated. 

Quinnipiac’s Assistant Director, Peter A. Brown, said “In all three of these states, more, and in Colorado many more, registered voters say she is not honest and trustworthy…voters do think she is a strong leader – a key metric – but unless she can change the honesty perception, running as a competent but dishonest candidate has serious potential problems.”

So, most of these numbers with Clinton and the GOP field, especially in Virginia, could change quickly. Second, it’s pretty much confirmed that the UN presser didn’t neutralize, kill, or mitigate the questions surrounding her private email system. On average, 55 percent think she has yet to fully explain herself on this matter; 40 percent are less likely to vote for her because of it; and 50 percent view this matter as important when casting their ballot (so far).

These aren’t the best gauges for a strong campaign, especially one with an exceptionally high amount of earned media; she’s Hillary Clinton. Nevertheless, it would appear the Clinton team made a terrible misstep in claiming that this email issue would go away–and be dismissed by the electorate in a nonchalant manner. It should come as no surprise that Americans want their leaders to be honest. Despite the cynicism about the electorate regarding politicians–they expect them to be corrupt–Americans tend to be infuriated by cover-ups and brash dishonesty. In modern times, this reaction dates back to Nixon. The 1976 presidential elections had the Ford campaign running an ad showing that he’s a good, honest man. Remember, "He’s Making Us Proud Again."

We shall see if Clinton 2.0 is able to correct this honesty gap that seems to be plaguing her soon-to-be announced campaign. Nevertheless, it may take time as the email fiasco feeds into the narrative that the Clintons are overly secretive.  Here are some examples

1) 1992: The Commodity Trades

During Bill Clinton's first run for the White House, his campaign declined to release all of the couple's tax returns. Later it emerged that the campaign had weighed requests from the press and decided not to do so, because a few of the returns showed Hillary Clinton's spectacular success in commodities trading, in which she made almost $100,000 from an initial investment of $1,000 in a matter of months for a return of almost 10,000 percent. Hillary Clinton threatened a campaign lawyer who had access to the material with retribution if she released the data: "You'll never work in Democratic politics again," the lawyer, Loretta Lynch, says Clinton told her. It wasn't until 1994, as the New York Times prepared to publish an article detailing the trades, that the Clintons made public the returns.

2) 1993: The Health Care Task Force

As First Lady, Clinton led a presidential task force to overhaul the U.S. health care system. The group, which produced a 1,342-page bill that failed to win approval, came under intense criticism from lawmakers and interest groups for meeting behind closed doors. Several court challenges were brought in an attempt to open the process. Ultimately the courts provided a partial legal victory to the administration. Clinton later wrote she didn't mind the criticism since she was "trying to do something important for people" but acknowledged the failure was partially the result of her "own missteps" in "trying to do too much, too fast."

3) 1994: Records from the Rose Law Firm

U.S. investigators in 1994 subpoenaed the First Lady's billing records from her years at the Rose Firm in Little Rock, Arkansas, documents that had been also sought by reporters. A focus of their interest was her legal work for a failing savings and loan, but records of those billings weren't found. Much later, Clinton's long-time assistant, Carolyn Huber, said she found in the White House residence an additional box of records that contained the billing memos. They were turned over to the independent counsel in 1996. Clinton testified she had no knowledge of how the records wound up where they did.

4) 2006: The Energy Task Force

Late in her first term as U.S. senator from New York, Clinton set up an energy task force to help her work through the issue, deliver a major speech on the subject and prepare for a possible presidential run, participants in the task force told us for the book. They produced a 40-page report in April 2006. The whole project, including the existence of the group, its members and its work product was a secret, designed, participants said, to encourage frank discussions of the issue. The leader of the task force headed an investment firm with major holdings in the energy sector. Senators routinely get input from outsiders and no law requires their disclosure, but a secret task force is unusual.

5) 2015: The Family Foundation

The Clinton family foundation, now called the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, made disclosures that exceed the legal requirements. Charities are not required to list donors, but as part of Clinton's selection as secretary of state the foundation agreed to disclose the identity of contributors and restrict solicitations from foreign governments. Still, the information on the foundation's website is less than full. Donors are identified but not the exact amount of each donation or the date of those contributions. Instead donations fall under ranges and are listed cumulatively. The foundation did not announce that it started raising money from foreign governments after Hillary Clinton left office. But last month the Wall Street Journal pieced together some new foreign donations after the foundation's web site was updated. That article was the first in a spate of news accounts raising questions about foreign money coming into the Clinton network as she prepares a run for president. The foundation has said donors are carefully vetted and their money goes to important charitable projects.

Also, the recent development that an ex-aide of her husband’s had a secret intelligence network that sent sensitive information to her private email account. We don’t know if Hillary read or responded to these emails, but that’s another question to be added to an already lengthy list.

Last notes: While 51 percent of Colorado voters, 53 percent of Iowan voters, and 51 percent of Virginia voters feel like a congressional investigation into Clinton’s emails would be politically motivated, there’s also substantial support for an investigation.

Quinnipiac asks, “Do you support or oppose a congressional investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a personal email address to conduct government business while working as Secretary of State?”

In all three states, on average, they break in favor of one: Virginia 50/45 in favor, Iowa 47/45 in favor (a virtual tie), and Colorado breaks 52/43 in favor of an investigation.

The samples for both polls:

  1. Colorado: 895 registered voters, 26/28/37 breakdown among Republicans, Democrats, and Independents (D+2)
  2. Iowa: 948 registered voters, 30/29/37 R+1
  3. Virginia: 961 registered voters: 26/32/30 D+5

UPDATE: RNC releases "Stop Hillary" ad.

UPDATE: They have the right attitude ...  “We just wanted to get this thing over with and get on with it,” a soon-to-be-Clinton staffer said on condition of anonymity."

UPDATE: Courtesy of America Rising, it seems Sen. Warren doesn't appear to be enthused with the soon-to-be Clinton 2016 campaign: