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Monmouth University Polling Institute

America Tired of Clinton Email Story

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Clinton hasn’t cleared the air, but most see Benghazi Committee as partisan

West Long Branch, NJ  - Bernie Sanders was right: America is tired of hearing about Hillary Clinton's emails.  While few Americans believe she has been honest about her handling of emails while Secretary of State, few believe she was trying to hide something by using a private account.  The Monmouth University Poll  also found that most Americans believe the special Benghazi Committee, who Clinton will face tomorrow, is more interested in going after the candidate than learning the facts.

The controversy over Hillary Clinton's emails has dogged her campaign since the summer and is at least partially responsible for her drop in the polls.  However, over half (52%) of the American public feels that Hillary Clinton's use of a personal email account during her time as Secretary of State was mainly a matter of convenience compared to 33% who say this behavior suggests she has something to hide.  These results are largely unchanged from a Monmouth poll taken in August.

On the other hand, Americans are less likely to believe that she has been honest (35%) in her subsequent explanation of how she handled those emails, with nearly half (48%) saying she has not been honest about it.  Clinton will get a chance to clear the air tomorrow, when she is expected to be asked about her email use during testimony before the Congressional committee investigating the deaths of American officials in Benghazi, Libya.  The American public is predisposed to believe that the committee is looking to discredit Clinton.  Specifically, a majority (52%) say the committee is more interested in going after Clinton than it is with learning the facts of the matter (32%).

The Monmouth University Poll  also found that Bernie Sanders wasn't off the mark when he turned to Clinton during Tuesday night's debate and said "the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails."  Specifically, 59% of the public are tired of hearing about this issue and just 32% say the media should continue to cover it.

 "Bernie Sanders was right. America has heard enough. Hillary Clinton's testimony tomorrow can either cement that view or open up a new can of worms. Right now, it looks like the public is more inclined to side with Clinton when she goes up against the House committee" said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute based in West Long Branch, NJ.  "The bottom line is that, despite Clinton's apparent failure to come clean, most Americans see the continuing discussion of her emails as mainly partisan politics."

The Monmouth University Poll  also found that Hillary Clinton's rating with American voters has not changed much since August.  It currently stands at 41% favorable to 48% unfavorable, compared to 38% - 48% two months ago.  Voter opinion of Bernie Sanders has improved, mainly due to increased name recognition.  His favorable rating stands at 35%, which is up from 24% in August, and his unfavorable rating stands at 30%, which is up slightly from 26%.  Joe Biden, who has yet to decide on a presidential run, currently holds a 44% favorable and 31% unfavorable rating among registered voters nationwide.

On the Republican side, of six presidential candidates tested in the poll, Ben Carson has the strongest rating among all voters - 40% favorable and 25% unfavorable.  Front-runner Donald Trump's voter rating has remained fairly stable.  It currently stands at 32% favorable and 50% unfavorable, compared to 31% - 54% two months ago.  Voters are split on Marco Rubio (31% favorable and 30% unfavorable) and Carly Fiorina (30% favorable and 30% unfavorable), and are slightly negative toward Ted Cruz (29% favorable and 36% unfavorable).  American voters' views of Jeb Bush are decidedly negative, at just 27% favorable and 47% unfavorable, which is down slightly from 33% - 43% in August.

The Monmouth University Poll  was conducted by telephone from October 15 to 18, 2015 with 1,012 adults in the United States.  This sample has a margin of error of ±  3.1 percent.  The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.

The questions referred to in this release are as follows:

[QUESTION 1 WAS ASKED OF REGISTERED VOTERS ONLY]

1.      Please tell me if your general impression of each of the following is favorable or unfavorable, or if you don’t really have an opinion.  [NAMES WERE ROTATED]

         Vice President Joe Biden

         Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

         Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders

         Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush

         Commentator and Doctor Ben Carson

         Texas Senator Ted Cruz

         Businesswoman Carly Fiorina

         Florida Senator Marco Rubio

         Businessman Donald Trump

[ASKED OF EVERYONE]

2.      How much have you seen or heard about Hillary Clinton using a personal email account during her time as Secretary of State?

3.      Do you think Hillary Clinton using a personal email account for official business suggests she has something to hide or was more a matter of convenience?

4.      Do you believe Hillary Clinton has been or has not been honest about how she handled her emails?

5.      Clinton will testify to a special Congressional committee investigating the deaths of American officials in Benghazi and is expected to be asked about her email use while Secretary of State.  Do you think the committee is more interested in learning the facts of the matter or more interested in going after Clinton?

6.      Are you tired of hearing about Clinton’s emails or do you think this is something the media should continue to cover?

The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from October 15 to 18, 2015 with a national random sample of 1,012 adults age 18 and older.  This includes 712 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 300 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone, in English.  Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey design, data weighting and analysis. Final sample is weighted for region, age, education, gender and race based on US Census information.  Data collection support provided by Braun Research (field) and SSI (RDD sample).  For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points (unadjusted for sample design).  Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below).  In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and results by key demographic groups.

Download this Poll Report with all tables

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- Monmouth University Polling Institute