While FBI Director James Comey chose not to recommend charges last week against Hillary Clinton for her gross negligence in handling classified material, the findings from the bureau’s investigation devastated Clinton’s repeated excuses, obfuscations, and flat-out lies about her private server. So has all the intrigue and scandal impacted Clinton’s bid to become the first female President of the United States? Here are five facts that should have the presumptive Democratic nominee very worried.
1. Clinton’s national lead over Trump has evaporated.
Multiple national polls have found that Clinton’s lead over Trump has vanished into thin air. The CBS News poll gave her a six-point lead in June; that lead has now evaporated, with the two candidates locked in a dead heat at 40 percent each.
NBC News found the same trend earlier this week, Clinton’s lead narrowing to within the margin of error. NBC, like CBS and the New York Times, points to Comey’s damaging findings as the main reason for Clinton’s downward turn.
RealClearPolitics’ national average likewise shows Clinton with a much smaller national lead, down 4 points to +3. Meanwhile, Rasmussen found Trump with a jaw-dropping 7-point lead over Clinton, 44 – 37.
2. Trump has gained the edge in the swing states.
Quinnipiac‘s most recent numbers show Trump leading in two of the key swing states, Florida (42 – 39) and Pennsylvania (43 – 41), and tied with Clinton in Ohio (41 – 41). Trump actually gains the upper hand narrowly in Ohio if third party candidate Gary Johnson is included (37 – 36).
3. A stunning two-thirds of Americans believe Clinton is dishonest.
A new New York Times/CBS News poll found that following the FBI’s damning report on her private email server, 67 percent of voters now say they believe Clinton is “not honest and trustworthy,” a five-point increase since last month. This finding aligns with other polls over the last year consistently showing voters deeply distrusting Clinton. The only ray of hope for Clinton is that Trump is also distrusted, 62 percent saying they don’t trust him, but his numbers have stayed relatively flat, while hers continue to climb.
4. Almost everyone (82 percent!) agrees that Clinton shouldn’t have used a private server, and 56 percent say she should have been charged.
Following the FBI revelations, NBC News asked voters how they felt about Clinton’s choice to use a private server. The results were devastating.
“A strong majority of voters (82 percent) agreed that it was inappropriate for Clinton to use a personal email server during her tenure as secretary of state,” reports NBC News. “A smaller majority — 56 percent — also said they disagreed with Comey’s recommendation that Clinton not be prosecuted for use of the server.”
While NBC does its best to downplay the second result, the reality is that a majority, 56 percent, of Americans now view Clinton as someone who unfairly got off easy on what they believe (rightly) to be a crime involving national security — the protection of which is one of the most important , if not the most important, responsibilities of a President of the United States.
5. Americans overwhelmingly believe we need a “radical change” from the status quo.
As Nolte noted this week, all signs point to this election being a “change election.” When Quinnipiac asked voters in the three key swing states, “Agree or disagree –the old way of doing things no longer works and we need radical change,” the response was overwhelming. Over 70 percent in each state said they “agree” that “radical change” was needed.
Clinton has continued to portray herself as simply a continuation of President Obama, a defender and caretaker of his legacy. In other words, she is the status quo candidate. Trump, the most independent major candidate in recent history, is of course anything but status quo.
“Every election, especially a presidential election, is a referendum on one simple question: Do you want the status quo or do you want change?” writes Nolte. “Once that question is answered, an almost equally important question is asked: If you want change, is the alternative acceptable?”
So is Trump “acceptable” enough? That is the question.
This article has been revised and reformatted.