Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton signs her new book “Hard Choices,” at the Common Good Books store in St. Paul, Minn., Sunday, July 20, 2014. (Jerry Holt/Minneapolis Star Tribune/MCT)

By David Lightman
McClatchy Washington Bureau
March 6, 2015

WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton’s troubles are costing her politically, as potential Republican presidential rivals have inched closer to her in 2016 matchups, a new McClatchy-Marist poll found Friday.

The former secretary of state fell below the crucial 50 percent level of support in one-on-one matchups against Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Scott Walker, and she was barely above that benchmark against Rand Paul, Rick Perry and Ted Cruz.

None have formally declared themselves candidates yet.

In the race for the Republican nomination, Bush, a former Florida governor, and Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, led the wide-open field. Walker has emerged as a favorite of conservatives, while Bush leads among moderates.

Their competitive showings against Clinton “may tap into some concerns voters have about her,” said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion in New York, which conducted the survey. “It gets us back to stuff people find unpleasant about the Clintons.”

Clinton was first dogged by reports last month about millions of dollars her family’s foundation has received from donors based in foreign countries. Monday, the second day of the polling, The New York Times reported that Clinton had used a personal email server to conduct government business while secretary of state.

The email furor dominated political news all week. Wednesday, a committee in the House of Representatives that’s investigating the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, subpoenaed relevant emails.

The survey found that Democrats continue to give Clinton strong support. Sixty percent of Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents named her as their pick for president. Vice President Joe Biden, with 13 percent, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, at 12 percent, were far behind. Warren has said she’s not interested in running.

Clinton got solid support from almost all segments of the Democratic electorate. Her biggest vulnerability was among men, where she won 52 percent backing. About 2 in 3 women supported her.

In head-to-head matchups with top Republicans, though, the plot line was very different.

Clinton led Walker, who’s vaulted into the top tier of possible Republican contenders in recent weeks, by 48 to 44 percent. While Clinton won among moderates and liberals, Walker had a 70-26 percent advantage with conservatives.

Those conservatives have driven his emergence toward the front of the pack for the GOP nomination. The poll found Walker the runaway favorite among very conservative Republicans.

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