Poll Finds Emails Weighing on Hillary Clinton, Now Tied With Donald Trump

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Hillary Clinton has emerged from the F.B.I. investigation into her email practices as secretary of state a wounded candidate with a large and growing majority of voters saying she cannot be trusted, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

(Article by Amy Chozick)

As Mrs. Clinton prepares to accept the Democratic Party’s nomination at the convention in Philadelphia this month, she will confront an electorate in which 67 percent of voters say she is not honest and trustworthy. That number is up five percentage points from a CBS News poll conducted last month, before the F.B.I. released its findings.

Mrs. Clinton’s six-percentage-point lead over the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump, , in a CBS News poll last month has evaporated. The two candidates are now tied in a general election matchup, the new poll indicates, with each receiving the support of 40 percent of voters.

Any single poll is but a snapshot, and many other polls show Mrs. Clinton with a narrow but consistent lead over Mr. Trump. The Times/CBS News survey was conducted shortly after the release of the F.B.I. report on her email practices that suggested they were imprudent but not illegal. The damage from those revelations may or may not prove lasting.

Mr. Trump is also distrusted by a large number of voters — 62 percent — but that number has stayed constant despite increased scrutiny on his business record and falsehoods in his public statements and Twitter messages.

But Mrs. Clinton’s shifting and inaccurate explanations of her email practices at the State Department appear to have resonated more deeply with the electorate.

Last week, the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, recommended no criminal charges be filed against Mrs. Clinton over her handling of classified information on a private email server, but he called her actions “extremely careless.” The investigation undercut many of Mrs. Clinton’s statements over the past 18 months to explain and defend her decision to rely on the private server at her home in Chappaqua, N.Y.

Mrs. Clinton and her campaign celebrated the Justice Department’s decision not to indict her as a legal victory, but the political fallout appears significant, at least for now. She and her aides have vowed to win back the public’s trust, while acknowledging that this will be tough.

Voters still view Mrs. Clinton as vastly more prepared for the job — with 50 percent saying she is prepared, compared with the 30 percent who say the same about Mr. Trump. Voters’ views of Mrs. Clinton’s preparedness have also declined, by nine percentage points since last month.

As the candidates head to their respective party conventions, they will confront voters who range from disappointed to disgruntled about their choices.

Just 28 percent of voters said they had a positive view of Mrs. Clinton, compared with 33 percent last month. Asked if her email practices were illegal, 46 percent of voters said yes, compared with 23 percent who said using a private server was improper but not illegal. Twenty-four percent said she did nothing wrong.

“I just don’t think she’s been completely truthful with this whole thing with her emails,” Cecelia Purner, 67, a retired customer service representative in Allentown, Pa., said in a follow-up interview. But, she added, “I think she’ll make a good president if elected.”

Mr. Trump has slightly improved his standing, with 30 percent of voters saying they have a positive view of him. Last month, 26 percent said the same.

As attack ads and verbal charges intensify on both sides, voters already appear fatigued. More than six in 10 say they were not looking forward to the next few months of the campaign; 46 percent said they were unenthusiastic about the 2016 presidential election.

Carole Bower, 75, a retiree in Carthage, Ill., supported Gov. John Kasich of Ohio in the Republican primary, but now plans to vote for Mr. Trump. “I will reluctantly do that because he’s got to be better than Hillary,” she said. “I will hold my nose and go into that voting booth.”

The grim view of the political climate comes as Americans experience heightened anxieties connected to their economic prospects, the threat of terrorism and race relations.

The killings of black men by white police officers and attacks on the police have left 62 percent of voters saying race relations are growing worse. Mrs. Clinton is seen as far more capable of dealing with racial tensions than Mr. Trump — 60 percent of voters said Mrs. Clinton would be better at handling the issue, double the number who said the same of Mr. Trump.

Mrs. Clinton has largely based her campaign on lifting the economic fortunes of a middle class that has felt squeezed after nearly 15 years of stagnant wages, a message that should fit with the current climate. Yet voters increasingly view Mrs. Clinton as less able to fulfill that economic promise. Last month, those polled were evenly split on whether Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Trump would do a better job handling the economy and jobs. Now, 52 percent said Mr. Trump would be better, compared with 41 percent for Mrs. Clinton.

After the deadly attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., by a gunman who expressed sympathy for the Islamic State, voters are evenly divided on which candidate would do a better job of handling terrorism and national security, an issue on which Mrs. Clinton held a seven-percentage-point advantage last month.

The lens through which voters view the candidates is sharply divided along gender and racial lines, with Mr. Trump having a double-digit lead among men and white voters without college degrees and Mrs. Clinton maintaining her double-digit edge among women and nonwhites.

Read more at: nytimes.com

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