Scandals Haven’t Hurt Clinton’s Chances in Iowa
Policy + Politics

Scandals Haven’t Hurt Clinton’s Chances in Iowa

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

“One thing is obvious about Iowa Democratic Caucus participants: They are loyal as the day is long, at least when it comes to Hillary Clinton,” Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said in a statement.

Months of controversy over destroyed emails and the finances of her family’s foundation haven’t damaged former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s standing with Iowa Democrats heading into the 2016 presidential campaign.

A new Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday shows her with a commanding 60 percent of the Democratic vote in the first-in-the-nation presidential caucus next year, in line with the 61 percent support Clinton received in a February survey.

Related: Is Bill Clinton Trying to Stop Hillary From Winning?

The poll of 692 likely Iowa Democratic caucus participants was conducted between April 25 and May 4 – in the midst of the controversy over the fundraising practices of the Clinton family foundation, allegations of influence peddling by Clinton and her husband, and Republican allegations that Clinton may have intentionally destroyed emails vital to the investigation into the deadly 2012 terrorist attack on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya.

“The former secretary of state has taken a major pounding in the news media and from her political opponents over her e-mail and family foundation. So far these criticisms have had absolutely no effect on her standing among Iowa Democrats,” Brown said

Clinton lost to President Obama in Iowa during her first bid for the White House in 2008, but this time round she has the air of invincibility, given the extraordinarily weak field of potential Democratic challengers and Iowa Democrats willing to give her the benefit of the doubt on the controversies that have dogged her and her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

Clinton’s nearest rival is Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a self-described democratic socialist, who has garnered 15 percent of likely Democratic caucus goers. Vice President Joe Biden attracted 11 percent of the Democratic vote, followed by former Sen. James Webb of Virginia and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, each with 3 percent each.

Previous surveys in Iowa and elsewhere suggested that while many voters respect Clinton as a leader and policy maker, they question her trustworthiness and honesty. Yet in the latest Quinnipiac poll in Iowa, Democrats say 76 to 17 percent that Clinton is honest and trustworthy.

Related: Hillary Alert: New Emails Mean Benghazi Isn’t Over

For now at least, Clinton appears to have weathered the brunt of negative news about her and her husband. A poll this week by The New York Times/CBS News found that voters now view Clinton more favorably as a person and a strong leader than earlier this year, despite a barrage of negative news coverage.

For example, the number of Americans who praise her strong qualities of leadership increased by eight points to 65 percent since the disclosures in late March that she did not use a government email account during four years as secretary of state, according to the poll.

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