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63% Think Hillary Clinton May Have Helped Foreign Donors As Secretary of State

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Just over half of voters do not trust Hillary Clinton, but even more think she used her position as secretary of State to benefit some of those who gave money to her Clinton Foundation.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 63% of Likely U.S. Voters think it’s likely some actions Clinton took as secretary of State were influenced by donations made to the Clinton Foundation. This includes 42% who say it’s Very Likely. Thirty percent (30%) consider it unlikely that Clinton's actions were influenced by donations, but that includes only 12% who say it’s Not At All Likely. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Media reports have raised numerous questions about the private Clinton Foundation established by Bill and Hillary Clinton and the large donations it received from foreign governments while she was serving as secretary of State.

This may help explain why 51% do not trust Clinton. Thirty-seven percent (37%) say they do trust the former first lady, but another 13% are undecided.

Among voters who don’t trust Clinton, 89% believe some of her actions as secretary of State were likely influenced by foreign donations. Even 34% of those who trust her agree it’s likely.

Nineteen percent (19%) of all voters believe Clinton is more ethical than most politicians. But twice as many (39%) say she is less ethical than her political peers. Thirty-eight percent (38%) view her ethics as about the same as others in politics.

By comparison, at the height of Chris Christie’s “Bridgegate” woes in January 2014, 20% considered the New Jersey governor more ethical than most politicians, while another 20% said he was less ethical. Forty-six percent (46%) rated his ethics as about the same as most other politicians.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on April 27-28, 2015 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

In early March when news stories about the Clinton Foundation began to proliferate, 57% of voters expressed concerned about the potential for conflict of interest raised by the failure of the foundation to get government approval for some large donations it received from foreign governments while Hillary Clinton was the nation’s number one diplomat. 

As recently as two weeks ago, though, most voters still said it is likely that Clinton will be elected the next president of the United States, even though they have very mixed feelings about her.

Women and voters under 40, considered bases of support for Clinton, are only slightly more likely to trust her than men and those who are older.

Black and other minority voters express a lot more confidence in her than white voters do. But sizable majorities of all three groups agree that Clinton is likely to have used her post as secretary of State to help some donors to the Clinton Foundation.

Eighty-four percent (84%) of Republicans and 65% of voters not affiliated with either major political party think Clinton is likely to have been influenced by donors. Perhaps more surprising is that 45% of Democrats agree, including 23% who say it’s Very Likely.

But 64% of voters in her own party trust the former first lady. Seventy-eight percent (78%) of GOP voters and 53% of unaffiliateds do not.

Pluralities of both Democrats and unaffiliated voters consider Clinton as ethical as other politicians. Most Republicans regard her as less ethical than most of her peers.

Eight-out-of-10 Americans believe politicians in general are less ethical than those in other professions.

When reviewing her resume, voters credit Clinton most for serving as secretary of State, but more voters than ever (47%) think the circumstances surrounding the murder of the U.S. ambassador and three other U.S. Embassy employees in Benghazi, Libya in 2012 will hurt her campaign.

Name recognition is the most important factor at this early stage of the presidential season, and Clinton who unsuccessfully sought her party's presidential nomination in 2008 far outdistances any of her potential Democratic rivals. She also leads the first two announced candidates for the Republican nomination, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, but earns less than 50% support. 

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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