Poll: Voters Uneasy About Hillary Clinton’s Private Email Usage

Clinton supporters wait in line at a campaign event in Alexandria, Va. (Rob Kunzig/Morning Consult)

About half of voters think former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server was illegal, unethical and is a “major problem” as the Democrat seeks the presidency.

According to a new Morning Consult national survey of 2,001 voters, nearly all of them (85 percent) have heard something or a lot about her private email usage – a key issue being raised against her by Republicans as they try to cast her as untrustworthy.

Last week, the State Department’s Office of Inspector General released a report in which it found Clinton had not complied with its records-keeping procedures. The report said while her “production of 55,000 pages of emails mitigated her failure to properly preserve emails,” the State Department still had concerns over the security of their content after it ran through a personal server in her home.

Half of voters said Clinton’s use of a private email server was illegal, while more than a quarter of voters (27 percent) weren’t sure if it was legal or not. Just less than a quarter (22 percent) said they believed it was legal. Only 20 percent of voters believed her practice was ethical.

Among all voters, 48 percent view the emails as a “major problem,” while 24 percent see it as a minor problem. Just 18 percent of voters said it was no problem at all. But even among Democrats, a quarter of them think it is a major problem for Clinton, compared with 50 percent of self-identified independents and 78 percent of Republicans.

Clinton has denied any wrongdoing, only stating that she “should have used two accounts,” one personal and one public.

While the email issues have been repeatedly raised by Republicans, her opponent in the Democratic primary — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — has mostly ignored the topic, memorably dismissing it as an issue in a debate last fall by saying “the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails!” He has instead focused his attacks on her refusal to release transcripts of paid speeches she made to banks and corporations.

Sixty-four percent of the electorate who was surveyed had heard of the calls for Clinton to release the transcripts, and the same percentage of voters said those transcripts should be released. Only 19 percent said they should not, while 17 percent said they had no opinion.

Nearly half of Democrats (47 percent) believe Clinton should release the transcripts, along with 67 percent of independents and 80 percent of Republicans.

The survey comes a week after another Morning Consult found that 67 percent of voters, and about 60 percent of Republican voters, said they thought presidential candidates should release their tax returns, which Republican Donald Trump has refused to do.

The Morning Consult survey polled 2,001 registered voters from May 27-30 with a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. See the toplines and crosstabs.

Morning Consult