Poll: Hillary Clinton’s favorability rating dives amid Benghazi probe

Hillary Clinton’s favorability rating dropped significantly in a Quinnipiac University poll released Friday, as the months-long investigation into the terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya, have begun to drag on the former secretary of State.

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According to the survey, 52 percent said they have a favorable view of Clinton, against 40 unfavorable. That’s down from her all-time high of 61 percent favorable and 34 unfavorable in February of this year.

“Her score is down substantially from her all-time high score in February,” said Quinnipiac director of polling Peter A. Brown in a statement. 

“The drop in favorability is substantial among men, Republicans and independent voters. One reason for her drop may be that 48 percent of voters blame her either a little or a lot for the death of the American ambassador in Benghazi.”

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) this week subpoenaed State Department documents related to the Obama administration’s talking points about the attack. The State Department has already released more than 100 emails related to the talking points, but Issa called the release “incomplete.”

Many Republicans say the Obama administration, through the State Department, misled the American people about the nature of the attacks in the days following the siege that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. 

White House officials have said the talking points were constructed at a time when it was too early to draw concrete conclusions about the nature of the attacks.

Still, Clinton remains the frontrunner in the 2016 presidential race.

Quinnipiac polled two potential Republican challengers: Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Paul clocked in at 32 percent favorable and 24 percent unfavorable. Bush was at 29 percent positive and 29 percent negative.

Clinton leads Paul 49 percent to 41 percent in a hypothetical head-to-head match-up and leads Bush 48 to 40.

“Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton remains the queen of the 2016 hill at this point, but the wide gap between her and some of the leading Republican contenders on favorability may be closing, as her overall favorability has taken a hit,” Brown said.

Vice President Biden suffers from a negative approval rating, at 37 percent favorable and 44 percent unfavorable.

“If Ms. Clinton chooses not to run in 2016, the potential Democratic field could include a somewhat unpopular vice president and a number of new faces who are unknown to the vast majority of Americans,” Brown said.

The Quinnipiac poll of 1,419 registered voters was conducted between May 22 and May 28 and has a 2.6 percentage point margin of error.