More than four in 10 Democratic voters do not call Hillary Clinton honest and trustworthy, spelling possible trouble for the presidential candidate as she campaigns to win the White House this year.
Fifty-eight percent of Democratic-leaning voters rate Clinton as honest and trustworthy, according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll released Tuesday just as voters head to the polls in Michigan and Mississippi. This means that 42 percent of likely Democratic primary voters do not say that they view Clinton as honest.
The new survey, which also finds Clinton with a 7-point lead nationally over Democratic primary challenger Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), comes as Clinton tries to dismiss reports about the FBI investigation into the private, unsecured email system she used as secretary of state. The Washington Post and the New York Times both reported last week that the FBI probe had become criminal in nature, though Clinton has described the investigation as a "security review."
Clinton’s honesty scores could become a larger problem in the general election. Overall, approximately six-in-10 U.S. adults do not view Clinton as honest and trustworthy, while just over a third trust the former secretary of state. A majority of Americans also view Clinton unfavorably, with 41 percent saying they have a "strongly" unfavorable opinion of Clinton. Forty-six percent view her positively.
Clinton’s ratings on trust have steadily decreased since last March when it was revealed that she used personal email to conduct government business at the State Department, a matter that is currently the subject of multiple inquiries, including the FBI probe.
Last month, Clinton would not definitely say that she has never lied to the American public during a televised interview.
FBI investigators are reportedly looking into whether a crime was committed in the mishandling of classified information. While Clinton has insisted that she never sent nor received information on her personal email that was classified at the time, the government has determined in reviewing her 30,000 work-related messages than more than 2,000 are classified. Twenty-two emails have been withheld from release for containing information that is "top secret," the highest level classification.
None of the messages were marked classified on Clinton’s email server, the State Department has said.
"I will reiterate because it’s a fact–nothing I sent or received was classified," Clinton said late Monday during a Fox News town hall in Detroit, Michigan. She also claimed that the FBI has not told her that she is being investigated.
While Clinton is still widely viewed as the likely Democratic nominee, her lead over Sanders has eroded considerably over several months. Sanders has largely ignored Clinton’s use of private email, instead focusing his criticism on her ties to Wall Street. Her potential Republican foes, however, have seized on the email issue.