While Hillary Clinton emerged as the resounding winner out of Tuesday’s primary contests, the former secretary of state still struggles to win over Democratic voters who care about the honesty of their choice candidate.
According to exit polling out of all five states that voted Tuesday, Clinton lost to her competitor, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), among Democratic primary voters who rate honesty as the most important quality in a candidate for president.
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This result was most dramatic in Missouri, where Sanders beat Clinton 82 percent to 18 percent–a more than 4-to-1 margin–among primary voters who registered honesty as their top candidate quality. In Ohio, Sanders bested Clinton 72 percent to 27 percent among these voters, and similar results were recorded in North Carolina, where Sanders beat Clinton 70 percent to 25 percent among voters who care most about trust, and in Illinois, where Sanders beat Clinton 70 percent to 29 percent among such voters.
Finally, in Florida–which saw Clinton’s largest lead of the night–Sanders won 64 percent of the vote among Democratic primary voters who list honesty as the top candidate quality, while Clinton received 35 percent of support among these voters.
The results come as Clinton continues to receive scrutiny for her use of private email at the State Department, which is currently under FBI investigation.
While Clinton has long said that she never sent nor received information on her email that was marked classified, the government has determined that over 2,000 messages on her private server contain classified information. Twenty-two of the messages contain top secret information, of the highest classification, and the State Department was forced to block these emails from its release of Clinton’s work correspondences.
Critics have argued that Clinton put national security at risk by using unsecured email to conduct government business, though the former secretary of state has attempted to brush off the controversy as an attack on her presidential campaign. Still, the FBI probe–which, according to multiple reports, has turned criminal–could result in Clinton and her top aides being questioned by investigators.
Clinton’s campaign has minimized the FBI investigation as a security review.
Her use of private email at the State Department was revealed over a year ago, and the matter has presented hurdles for Clinton as she vies for the presidency. While Clinton is poised to become the nominee with a significant delegate lead, Sanders has presented an unexpected challenge in the primary, recording a large win in New Hampshire and upsetting Clinton in Michigan.
Should Clinton become the nominee, the email issue could continue to follow her into the general election.