Between intensifying scrutiny of foreign governments' donations to her family foundation and persistent questions over her exclusive use of a private email server to conduct official business while she was secretary of state, the past few weeks have hardly been the best for Hillary Clinton's all-but-official presidential campaign. But a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll indicates that the imbroglios haven't damaged her White House prospects.
Though a majority of respondents said that Clinton's email practices pose a "somewhat serious problem" and that they were unsatisfied with her public explanation, Clinton continues to dominate the Democratic field and boasts healthy leads over her potential Republican opponents, besting the party's prospects by margins ranging from 11 to 16 percentage points.
Among Democrats, 62 percent say they want Clinton to be their party's nominee, versus 15 percent for Vice President Joe Biden, 10 percent for Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, three percent for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and one percent each for former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb.
Meanwhile, although the natural polarization of the electorate ensures that 2016 will be a much closer contest than the CNN/ORC poll currently shows, Clinton starts out with an edge over the GOP. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul comes closest to Clinton, trailing her 43 percent to 54 percent, while Clinton enjoys slightly larger leads over top-tier candidates like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whom she leads 55 percent to 40 percent, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (ditto).
While the former secretary has much to relish in the poll's results, CNN/ORC found that her favorability has trended downward as Clinton has reemerged as a domestic political figure following four years as a globe-trotting diplomat. Fifty three percent viewed Clinton favorably, while 44 percent said they take an unfavorable view of Clinton. That's down from a 59/38 spread in November, and sharply lower than the 69 percent favorable rating she scored in September 2011, at the height of her popularity as secretary of state. Still, Clinton outpaces all GOP rivals in favorability.