WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — It hasn’t been a smooth road for Hillary Clinton since she announced in April she was running for president.
The Democratic presidential candidate seems to have been mired in controversy and scandal ever since — from Clinton Foundation donations, to her private email server while she was secretary of state, to her speaking fees. And it also didn’t help that she didn’t answer reporters’ questions for 28 days as her campaign spun that she was taking questions from real Americans.
Michael Gerson, opinion writer for The Washington Post, penned an op-ed last week titled “In just five weeks, Hillary has had a lifetime quota of scandals.”
“In the five weeks since Clinton announced her candidacy, she has had a normal politician’s lifetime quota of scandals. During a brief recent media availability, questions covered foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation, ties to a former aide under investigation, the pace of disclosure of her already purged State Department e-mails and speaking fees that put her (as conservative columnist Byron York tweeted) in the 1 percent on a single harvest day in Silicon Valley. ‘I want those e-mails out,’ she told reporters, having made it technically difficult. ‘I’m proud of the work [the Clinton Foundation] has done,’ which is relevant only in an argument that ends justify means. Bland and bold. I’ve done what I’ve done. Get used to it,” Gerson wrote.
Despite being swirling in scandals, many Democratic voters still back her. A recent CBS News/New York Times poll found that 85 percent of Democratic voters would consider voting for her.
That same poll, though, finds that Americans are divided on whether the former secretary of state is honest and trustworthy: 48 percent of Americans believe she is, but 45 percent say she is not. More Americans viewed her unfavorably, too – 36 percent compared to 35 percent with a favorable opinion.
Larry Sabato, director at the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, tells CBSDC that many Americans aren’t vested in the scandals currently because they don’t follow politics in the offseason.
“First, it’s awfully early. Most Americans don’t follow politics in the offseason,” Sabato said. “Second, as a nation we have known the Clintons for nearly a quarter-century. Voters are quite used to hearing the name ‘Clinton’ and ‘scandal’ in the same sentence. I suspect most people say, tell me something I don’t already know. Scandal is already baked into the Clinton cake, and it’s unlikely to move the needle much, certainly at this early stage.”
Sabato added that it’s too early to say if these Clinton scandals will derail her White House campaign.
“Other issues may or may not eclipse the scandal discussion,” he told CBSDC. “Depends on what’s happening in the economy, war, etc.”
Gerson wrote in The Post that Democratic donors are questioning if her polling can hold when new scandals are revealed.
“Democrats are presented with a political question: Does Clinton really have the political skills to pull this off? Her husband was a master of projecting likability, remorse and good intent,” Gerson wrote. “She is plausible as a president but mediocre as a candidate. Her silence is often an improvement on her availability. As new controversies come – and that is close to a political certainty – will her polling hold? I have heard significant Democratic donors wonder about this aloud.”