May 4, 2015 — Rasmussen Reports (RR) went into the field this week to query one thousand randomly selected likely voters (April 27-28) about Hillary Clinton in order to determine if the current controversy surrounding her is changing perceptions. Specifically tested was the speculation that the Clinton Foundation accepted millions of dollars in (legally) undisclosed foreign donations, and whether such action affected her decision-making and actions as Secretary of State.
The results can’t be considered encouraging for her. A whopping 63 percent of the respondents say they believe that “some actions Secretary Clinton took were influenced by donations made to the Clinton Foundation.” According to RR, 42 percent said it is “very likely” that the donations influenced her official decisions. Conversely, only 12 percent said such is “not at all likely” and 30 percent believe it is “unlikely” that money to the foundation played a role in how she handled her cabinet position.
Additionally, a majority of those polled, 51 percent, say they “do not trust” the former First Lady as compared to 37 percent who do. Not surprisingly, 89 percent of those saying they don’t trust Clinton believe that the donations influenced the execution of her official duties. But, perhaps more troubling, 34 percent of the segment saying they do trust her also believe the money drove at least some of her actions as secretary of state.
Answering another question, 19 percent of the polling respondents believe Clinton is more ethical than other politicians. More than double the previous number, 39 percent, say she is less ethical than her peers. Another 38 percent say her ethics are equivalent with other politicians.
Rasmussen then compared these results with an earlier survey, when these same questions were asked about Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) when the flap over his bridge closing scandal was a daily media story. At that time, Christie was viewed as being less ethical by 20 percent of the respondents, but another 20 percent also thought he was more ethical. His equivalency level with other office holders was 46 percent. The fact that Hillary Clinton scores considerably worse than Christie did at the height of his recent problem may or may not be significant, but it can’t be taken as a positive indicator.
Segmenting the respondent sample from a political party perspective, her numbers improve greatly within the Democratic Party sample cell. This is short-term good news for the former secretary of state because her first task is to obviously win the Democratic nomination. Here, 64 percent of the self-identified Democrats report trusting her.
Conversely, the numbers fall through the floor when Republicans are isolated. Among this group, 78 percent responded that they don’t trust her. Likely the most troubling result in the political party category came from Independents, however. Unfortunately for Clinton, this survey projects that a majority of Independents (53 percent) also say they don’t currently trust her.
Today, the former Secretary of State and First Lady still appears poised to clinch the Democratic presidential nomination. Though there may be some queasiness over her even among her own party’s members, she faces very little in the way of serious competition for the nomination.
On the other hand, personal approval numbers such as those reported here, should they continue, are symptomatic of serious image problems for the general election. Though the Democratic leadership, including Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, frequently claims a “blue wall” exists in describing the current Electoral College map, cracks in that fortress begin to appear when overlaying a Hillary Clinton candidacy as opposed to a generic Democrat.