WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — Americans have their most unfavorable view of Hillary Clinton than at any time since 2001, with 50 percent expressing a negative opinion of the Democratic presidential candidate.

Although Clinton still holds a commanding polling lead against other 2016 Democratic hopefuls, her 46 percent favorability among CNN/ORC poll respondents is the worst reflection on the former secretary of state in 14 years. Her polling numbers have dropped significantly since launching her campaign for president in April.

An increasing number – and now majority — of Americans polled said she is not honest and trustworthy (57 percent – up from 49 percent in March). And less than half of U.S. adults (47 percent) said they feel she cares about “people like them,” which is down from 53 percent last July. Clinton’s unfavorable polling is at its highest level since March 2001, when the former first lady was in her third month as a New York senator.

Half of Americans said they feel she does not inspire confidence.

Clinton has seen a significant decline among independent voters, but partisan Democratic support for her has fallen 9 points since April. And like potential Republican candidate Jeb Bush’s past links to the White House, most Americans (56 percent) say his connection to former presidents would make them less likely to support his White House run.

Half of Americans say Bush is “a lot like his brother,” former President George W. Bush.

Head-to-head matches between Clinton and top Republican presidential candidates are now tighter than at any point in the CNN/ORC polling – although no GOP hopeful has broken from the pack of contenders.

Democrats in the survey were more likely to say they would like a competitive primary (53 percent say it would be best for their party), but thus far Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (10 percent) and Vice President Joe Biden (14 percent) sit far behind in polls. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley registers with only 1 percent support from Democrats.

Among liberals, Sanders gathers 18 percent of support – but Clinton still holds 61 percent of liberal Democrat support.

Asked if the State Department’s coming release of Clinton’s work-related emails as secretary of state will show any wrongdoing, 35 percent said it will, but 61 percent said it will “not show wrongdoing.” But asked about Clinton’s handling of the September 2012 terrorist attack on Americans in Benghazi, Libya, and a majority of Americans (58 percent) said they are “dissatisfied” with the way Clinton handled the matter.

The CNN/ORC Interviews with 1,025 adult Americans conducted by telephone by ORC International on May 29-31, 2015.


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