Majority Disapprove of Decision Not to Charge Clinton on Emails (POLL)

A majority of Americans disapprove of the FBI's recommendation.

ByABC News
July 11, 2016, 7:00 AM

— -- A majority of Americans disapprove of the FBI's recommendation not to charge Hillary Clinton with a crime over her handling of email while secretary of state, and a similar number in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll say the issue leaves them worried about how she would handle her responsibilities as president if elected.

Most also say the email controversy won't affect their vote in the presidential election. But 28 percent say it leaves them less likely to support her, versus 10 percent who say it makes them more likely to do so.

See PDF with full results here.

Reactions to the decision are highly political, with partisanship factoring heavily in people's views. Yet Democrats don't back Clinton up on the issue nearly as much as Republicans criticize her, and independents side more with Republicans.

Overall, 56 percent disapprove of FBI Director James Comey's recommendation not to charge Clinton, while just 35 percent approve. Similarly, 57 percent say the incident makes them worried about how Clinton might act as president if she is elected, with most very worried about it. Just 39 percent feel the issue isn't related to how she would perform as president.

Questions about Clinton's character have been a key weakness of her candidacy. Americans by broad margins have said they don't regard her as honest and trustworthy. She trailed Bernie Sanders on this attribute by about 20 percentage points consistently in the Democratic primaries. And in some polls she has trailed Donald Trump on it as well, albeit more closely.

Political Lens

Nearly 9 in 10 Republicans disagree with the FBI's decision and say it worries them about what she would do if she became president.

Democrats see things very differently but with less unanimity. About two-thirds approve of the decision not to charge Clinton and think the issue is unrelated to what she would do as president. But 3 in 10 Democrats think she should have been charged.

Roughly 6 in 10 independents say the FBI was wrong and that the issue raises worries about Clinton as president.

Whether the issue will hurt Clinton in November is an open question. Republicans, the vast majority of whom already oppose Clinton, are the most apt to say it makes them less likely to support her. Still, many independents and even a few Democrats say the same. (Results are similar among registered voters.)

Forty-five percent of Republicans say the issue makes no difference in their vote — likely meaning they wouldn't have voted for Clinton anyway — and an additional 47 percent say it makes them less apt to support her. Among Democrats, the email issue makes no difference to three-quarters, and 16 percent say it has strengthened their support (likely given that she wasn't charged) — but 10 percent say they're less likely to vote for her because of it.

Most independents, 58 percent, say the issue won't influence their choice, but those who say it has made them less likely to support Clinton far outnumber those who say it has made them more apt to vote for her, 33 percent versus 5 percent.


This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cellphone July 6 and 7, 2016, among a random national sample of 519 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 5 points. The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York City, with sampling, data collection and tabulation by SSRS of Media, Pennsylvania. See details on the survey's methodology here.

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