Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters increasingly view Bernie Sanders as more honest than Hillary Clinton as the former secretary of state continues to weather scrutiny for her use of personal email.
Currently, 44 percent–a plurality–of registered Democrats and Democratic leaners say that Sanders, an independent senator from Vermont and Clinton’s chief competition in the 2016 primary, is more honest and trustworthy than Clinton, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released Friday.
In contrast, 38 percent say that Clinton is more honest than Sanders. Seven percent say that neither candidate is honest, indicating that a majority of likely Democratic primary voters believe that Clinton is either less honest than her competitor or equally as dishonest.
When the same question was asked of leaned Democrats in mid-October around the time of the first Democratic primary debate, primary voters were more likely to rate Clinton as more honest than Sanders, suggesting that voters’ trust in the former secretary of state has declined over the last two months.
In the October 18 poll, 42 percent of Democrats and Democratic leaning voters said that Clinton is more trustworthy than Sanders, while a similar 41 percent said the opposite.
Clinton’s honesty scores have suffered since it was revealed earlier this year that she exclusively used a personal email account to conduct official business during her four years at the State Department. The FBI has been investigating Clinton’s email setup since the intelligence community inspector general determined that two emails contained "top secret" information at the time they were sent.
Clinton has insisted that she never sent or received information marked classified on her personal email account. While the State Department has disputed the inspector general’s findings, arguing that the emails may have been over-classified, a recent intelligence community review affirmed that both emails were top secret when they originated on Clinton’s system, according to a report this week.
Among likely Democratic primary voters, Clinton maintains a lead, winning 59 percent of the vote to Sanders’ 28 percent. However, Clinton held a similar lead over then Sen. Barack Obama at the same point in 2007, but Obama eventually won the nomination.
Thirty percent of those who rate Sanders more honest than Clinton support the former secretary of state, while 53 percent of those individuals support the Vermont senator.