Speed Reads

2016 Watch

Hillary Clinton wasn't a great Secretary of State, Americans say

Hillary Clinton left the State Department with a sky-high approval rating. A little over a year later, and that has changed significantly.

Only 14 percent of voters say Clinton's tenure as secretary of state was "excellent," according to a new Politico poll. Meanwhile, one-third describe it as "poor" and another 21 percent say it was merely "fair."

So what happened to Clinton's once-sterling record?

As others have already pointed out, the endless "Benghazi" brouhaha on the right has tainted Clinton's reputation; a Pew poll earlier this year found that Benghazi was the most-cited knock against her. Given Clinton's infamous "reset" moment with Russia, it's likely that the growing crisis in Ukraine is turning the public off to her a bit, too. And then there's the simple fact that Clinton's favorability rating was so high before that it was bound to dip sooner or later.

The latest poll numbers aren't jaw-droppingly terrible for Clinton, but they do suggest a real weakness often glossed over in the assumptions that she has the Democratic presidential nomination — if not the White House — already locked up.