A majority of Americans said they thought former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was wrong to use a private, home-based Internet server to send and receive emails while in office, new polling from CNN and ORC International has shown. Nearly one-third of respondents to the survey said the email scandal was a “very serious” problem. At the same time, 52 percent said the way Clinton handled her email accounts while secretary of state had no bearing on her character or her presidential faculty, should she make a run for the White House next year.
Overall, Clinton’s favorability rating has dipped 6 points compared to November. Four months ago, 59 percent of Americans said they had a “favorable” opinion of Clinton, compared to 53 percent today. Perceptions of Clinton as “honest and trustworthy” were also on the decline. In March 2014, 56 percent of Americans described Clinton as having those traits. Last week, following the controversy over her email usage, only 50 percent of respondents said they thought of Clinton in those ways.
A New York Times report revealed earlier this month that Clinton had used a personal, at-home server to send and receive emails during her tenure as secretary of state, a violation of a federal law that requires government employees to have their official correspondences retained for public records. An investigation by the State Department found that Clinton did not have a government email address during her four years in the Cabinet and that her aides never attempted to have her personal emails preserved.
The email controversy wasn’t the only hurdle facing Clinton in recent weeks. The Clinton Foundation, a non-profit humanitarian organization with operations all over the world, has been accused of accepting large foreign donations at the same time Clinton was serving as secretary of state, something that many have seen as an apparent conflict of interest. Another recent uptick in such donations has raised concerns over donors’ influence on Clinton should she run for president.