Post-ABC poll: Reaction to FBI decision on Clinton e-mail use - The Washington Post
A new Washington Post/ABC News poll finds that a majority of Americansdisapprove of FBI director James Comey’s recommendation that Clinton not be charged with a crime over her email arrangement, by 56-35. Americans say by 57-39 that her handling of it makes them worry about how she’ll handle the presidency.
What’s striking, though, is the degree to which this is driven by differences between Republicans and Democrats. Republicans are nearly unanimous in their disapproval of Comey’s decision, by 88 to seven. But according to the crosstabs, Democrats are substantially more split: 31 percent of Dems also disapprove, versus 63 percent who approve. Similarly, Dems say by 31-68 makes them worried about her presidency. Among independents, those numbers are 59-31 and 63-34.
In other words, nearly a third of Democrats disapprove of Comey’s recommendation against charges and say it makes them worried about her presidency, and a whole lot of Dem-leaning independents say the same.
What’s more, the crosstabs show that this is particularly pronounced among young voters and liberals: A majority of voters under 40 disapprove, by 55-32. And nearly half of liberals (43 percent) disapprove, while 49 percent approve. Similar percentages of those groups say this worries them about her presidency. Given those demographic breakdowns, it is possible — though the polling doesn’t say one way or the other — that there is substantial overlap between those Democrats and Dem-leaning independents who disapprove of Comey’s decision and those who support Sanders.
As you may recall, one of Sanders’s biggest moments during the primaries came when he publicly exonerated her over the email mess at a debate last fall, to great cheers from the audience. Since then, of course, during the voting throughout the first half of this year, Sanders emerged as a real threat to Clinton, and he amassed unexpected support among Democrats and Dem-leaning independents. A lot of those voters probably came to see Clinton more negatively, amid increasing criticism of her ties to Wall Street and fundraising, and perhaps came to adopt a similarly dim view of her email arrangement, as it received more and more media coverage. So one thing to keep an eye on will be how, or whether, Sanders goes about reassuring his supporters — and other Democrats and Dem-leaning independents — that Clinton’s email arrangement should not weigh on them.
Now, it’s true that in our new poll, a majority of Americans — 60 percent — say that the outcome of the email issue won’t effect their vote, while only 30 percent say it makes them less likely to vote for her. But it would be folly to dismiss the possibility that the email story could nonetheless subtly reinforce negative perceptions of her, particularly since it will apparently continue, as Republicansvow to push for an investigation of Clinton’s statements to Congress about it during the Benghazi probe, which, while unlikely to produce proof of perjury, will at least keep the issue in the news. It’s also very possible, of course, that GOP overreach on this issue could end up mitigating the impact of it. But the Clinton campaign can’t count on that happening.