With Hillary Clinton’s announcement of her candidacy for president set for this weekend, a Bloomberg Politics poll released Friday afternoon found that a large majority of Democrats and Independents believe that she should face “serious competition” for the Democratic nomination. The poll also finds that while Clinton’s numbers remain strong among Democrats, they are slipping.
In telephone interviews conducted between April 6 and April 8, 42 percent of self-described Democrats said they would “definitely” vote for Clinton for president, while 27 percent said they would “probably vote for her. An additional 22 percent said that they remained open to voting for her, but might not. While that gives Clinton at least a shot at the vote of more than 90 percent of respondents, it also represents a notable softening of her support.
When the same question was asked in 2013, 52 percent of respondents said Clinton would “definitely” get their vote, meaning that there has been a 10 percentage point decline since then. In 2013, 24 percent said they would “probably” vote for her and 17 percent remained open to possibly voting for her.
The poll also, for the first time since 2009, found Clinton’s general favorability rating below 50 percent. Of the 1,008 people surveyed, 48 percent reported a favorable impression of Clinton, while 44 percent reported an unfavorable opinion.
Tellingly, the survey also asked about the scandal surrounding Clinton’s use of a private email address, and a private server kept in her own home, during her tenure as Secretary of State. Clinton claims that she had provided all relevant emails to the State Department in order to comply with record retention rules, but the Bloomberg survey suggests many people don’t believe her.
In the survey, 53 percent of respondents said that they believe she “purposely withheld or deleted some” of the emails, while only 29 percent thought she had been truthful in her explanations.
The vast majority of respondents also said that one thing seen by many as a key asset to Clinton’s candidacy – her gender – really doesn’t matter that much. There is a general assumption among much of the political media that her potential to be the first female president would give Clinton a substantial advantage in voter enthusiasm, particularly but not exclusively among women.
However, 83 percent of respondents told Bloomberg that Clinton’s gender “does not matter much” to them and only 12 percent said that the fact she is a woman makes them more inclined to vote for her.
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