- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s standing in the eyes of Americans has taken a hit since entering the 2016 presidential race, and double-digit leads against would-be 2016 Republican rivals in April have been winnowed down to just a few points in several instances.

Forty-six percent of Americans view her favorably, and 50 percent view her unfavorably, said a new CNN/ORC poll released Tuesday. In a survey from March, taken prior to the launch of her presidential campaign in April, 53 percent had a favorable view, and 44 percent had an unfavorable one.

Fifty-seven percent said the characteristic “is honest and trustworthy” does not apply to Mrs. Clinton, compared to 42 percent who said it did. In March, 50 percent said it did, and 49 percent said it did not.

A majority — 52 percent — said “cares about people like you” does not apply to her, compared to 47 percent who said it does. Last July, 53 percent said it did apply, and 45 percent said it did not.

Mrs. Clinton is still the frontrunner to win the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, but her leads against would-be Republican rivals is quickly winnowing compared to April.

She leads Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky by 1 point, 48 percent to 47 percent, after holding a 19-point lead in April, 58 percent to 39 percent. And she leads Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida by 3 points, 49 percent to 46 percent, after holding a 14-point, 55 percent to 41 percent lead in April.

She also leads Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker by 3 points, 49 percent to 46 percent, after leading by 22 points in April, 59 percent to 37 percent.

She leads former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush by 8 points, 51 percent to 43 percent, after leading in April by 17 points, 56 percent to 39 percent.

And she leads Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas by 9 points, 52 percent to 43 percent — down from a 24-point, 60 percent to 36 percent lead in April.

Mrs. Clinton is still the undisputed frontrunner to secure the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. She leads among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents with 60 percent of the vote, followed by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. at 14 percent and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont at 10 percent.

But as her presidential campaign gears up, Mrs. Clinton has had to deal with controversies surrounding the revelation that she exclusively used a private email system and server as the nation’s top diplomat and issues with foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation while she was secretary of state.

The State Department is now in the process of releasing some of her emails, and 61 percent did say the emails will not show she did anything wrong as secretary of state.

The emails have also been a subject of the House Select Committee investigating the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, that left haggling over how many times she will appear before the committee.

Rep. Trey Gowdy, South Carolina Republican and the committee’s chairman, wanted Mrs. Clinton to appear twice — once to answer questions about her email system and once to talk about the attack itself — while Mrs. Clinton’s team has said she would appear once.

Fifty-eight percent of Americans said they were dissatisfied with the way Mrs. Clinton has handled Benghazi, compared to 38 percent who said they were satisfied. That’s slightly worse than a 43 percent satisfied/55 percent dissatisfied split from a year ago.

Democrats have accused Republicans of using the committee as little more than a vehicle to attack Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy, but slightly more people now say the GOP has handled the hearings on the attack appropriately. Fifty-one percent said they thought Republicans have handled them appropriately, and 41 percent said they’ve gone too far, compared to 48 percent who said a year ago the GOP has handled them appropriately, and 44 percent who said then they have gone too far.

The overall survey of 1,025 adults was conducted May 29-31 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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