Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton continues to dominate the Democratic field in her bid for her party’s 2016 presidential nomination. Yet persistent voter doubts about her honesty and leadership skills are hurting her in fresh hypothetical matchups with the top Republican candidates in three battleground states.
A new poll released on Wednesday by Quinnipiac University shows Clinton trailing or on the wrong side of too-close-to-call results in matchups with three leading GOP contenders – Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, former Florida governor Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker -- in Colorado, Iowa and Virginia.
In Iowa, for example, Clinton would attract 36 percent of the vote, compared with 44 percent for Rubio, 42 percent for Bush and 45 percent for Walker. The results are similar in Colorado and Virginia.
That is in sharp contrast to the April 9 Quinnipiac University poll in which the former first lady and New York senator was clearly ahead in five of the matchups and too-close-to-call in the other four.
In several matchups in Iowa and Colorado, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont -- Clinton’s chief rival for their party’s nomination who has been drawing large crowds with his attacks on Wall Street and the wealthy elite -- actually runs as well as or better than Clinton against Rubio, Bush and Walker.
Clinton also gets noticeably negative favorable to unfavorable ratings in all three swing states: 35 percent favorable to 56 percent unfavorable in Colorado, 33 percent to 56 percent in Iowa and 41 percent to 50 percent in Virginia.
“Hillary Clinton’s numbers have dropped among voters in the key swing states of Colorado, Iowa and Virginia,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, in a statement.
“She has lost ground in the horserace and on key questions about her honesty and leadership,” he added. “On being a strong leader, a key metric in presidential campaigns, she has dropped four to 10 points depending on the state and she is barely above 50 percent in each of the three states.”
By many measures, Clinton is well set to win the Democratic nomination next summer, blessed with a well-funded and well-staffed national campaign organization and strong, broad support within her party, including many liberals. The latest Washington Post-ABC News poll shows Clinton leading Sanders, 68 percent to 16 percent, with other Democratic candidates much further back.
However, the recent flap over revelations that Clinton used her personal email to conduct public business at the State Department – presumably to maintain greater control over her messages – has hurt her standing with voters, as have reports about the tens of millions of dollars that she and former President Bill Clinton received in speaking fees and book royalties since they both left the White House.