Hillary Clinton significantly eased voters' Benghazi concerns, new poll finds

Hilary in the House.
(Image credit: AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

If the House Benghazi Committee's 11-hour grilling of Hillary Clinton really was supposed to damage her presidential campaign, it backfired, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. According to the poll, conducted Oct. 25-29, 38 percent of voters are still unsatisfied with her response to questions about the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, but that's down from 44 percent before Clinton testified. At the same time, the number of Democrats and swing voters satisfied with Clinton's Benghazi response rose sharply — to 72 percent from 58 percent for Democratic primary voters, and to 23 percent from 6 percent for self-identified swing voters — while the share of Republicans satisfied with her response stayed steady at 7 percent.

Furthermore, the number of respondents who said the Benghazi investigation is "unfair and too partisan" rose to 40 percent, from 36 percent before Clinton's testimony, while the number who said it was "fair and impartial" dropped to 27 percent, from 29 percent. Clinton also helped herself on the issue of her use of a private email server while secretary of state, with 48 percent of voters saying it wouldn't be an important factor in their vote versus 42 percent who said it would be; before the hearing, 47 percent said it was an important factor and 44 percent said it wasn't.

For Democratic voters, the Benghazi hearing "helped put this issue in the rearview mirror," GOP pollster Micah Roberts told The Wall Street Journal, "while Republicans continue to hold onto it." Still, the Benghazi hearings could only do so much for Clinton's well-defined image. In the new poll, as in previous ones, only 27 percent of voters rated Clinton highly on being honest and straightforward. The pollsters interviewed 1,000 adults, and the results had a margin of error of ±3.1 percent.

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