After the FBI declined to press charges against Hillary Clinton over her use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State, political observers quickly turned their attention to the polls. How would the finding and the public reaction to it affect Clinton in her race against Donald Trump to win the White House?
At least one new poll now includes responses that date from the days of and after the announcement by FBI Director James Comey, clearing Hillary Clinton of any criminal wrongdoing in the email server affair, although Comey did say on Tuesday that Clinton had been “extremely careless” in how she handled potentially classified information on the private server.
The Reuters/Ipsos daily tracking poll now includes data from July 5 through July 8, after the FBI announcement of the latest developments in the email affair that dominated political headlines for most of last week. The polling shows that the FBI decision may have actually helped Hillary Clinton expand her lead over Donald Trump.
At the very least, the email story did not hurt Clinton in the poll, which on July 5 gave her a 10.2 percentage point lead over Trump; 40.2 percent to 30, with 29.8 percent saying that they were either undecided, intended to vote for another candidate or simply refused to answer the pollster’s questions.
But on July 8, the Hillary Clinton lead over Donald Trump had expanded to almost 13 points; 44.9 to 33.2, with just 21 percent falling into the third category.
In other words, the Reuters/Ipsos poll showed gains for both Clinton and Trump in the immediate aftermath of the FBI email announcement, and a drop in voters who said they hadn’t made up their minds, or would vote for a different candidate altogether. But Clinton’s gain outpaced the headway made by Donald Trump in the daily tracking poll.
Watch FBI Director Comey testify before congress about the Hillary Clinton email case in the CNN news report, below.
Also last Thursday, July 7, the respected Pew Research Institute, which releases just one comprehensive presidential poll each election year, made public its findings for 2016, and though the survey, which was conducted in June, showed widespread voter unease with both candidates, the Pew Survey put Hillary Clinton firmly in control of the race.
In a one-on-one race pitting Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump, Pew Research found Clinton well ahead with 51 percent of the prospective vote, compared to just 42 percent for Trump and seven percent undecided.
That means, according to Pew, even if every single now-undecided voter broke for Trump, the Republican would still lose the election.
Pew also asked voters for their preferences in a three-way race, in which Clinton and Trump were also pitted against Libertarian Party candidate and former two-term New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson.
The presence of Johnson in the race appeared to hurt both Clinton and Trump equally as the Libertarian polled at 11 percent support. Clinton and Trump each lost six points off their totals, but in the three-candidate scenario, Hillary Clinton still emerges victorious with a 45 point plurality to 36 percent for Trump with eight percent undecided, according to the Pew survey.
While Donald Trump has damaged himself over the past week with bizarre statements expressing admiration for executed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, and his defense of an alleged anti-Semitic tweet posted on his Twitter feed, the Pew Research survey reveals a perhaps more fundamental reason why his campaign is in serious trouble.
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According to Pew, much of the support from Donald Trump comes from voters who feel they have been victimized by a poor economy. But the poll also showed that Americans are more optimistic about the country’s economy than at any point since the 2008 financial crisis.
That economic optimism revealed in the poll is generally taken to benefit the candidate of the incumbent president’s party; in this case, Democrat Hillary Clinton.
[Featured Photo By Justin Sullivan / Getty Images]