Hillary Clinton has a problem. In a new Quinnipiac University national poll, more than one in three voters say that the most important trait they are looking for in a 2016 candidate is being "honest and trustworthy." Almost six in ten of those polled said that Hillary Clinton lacks those two traits.
Clinton's problems with the honest/trustworthy question is not new. As I wrote back in April:
There's a widespread belief in her capability to do the job she is running for. There's also widespread distrust in her personally. People admire her but don't know if she's honest.
The Q poll trend line shows a steady line of distrust towards Clinton. In May 39 percent of people said she was honest and trustworthy. In April that number was 38 percent. And, before you dismiss Clinton's honesty issue as simply the carping of Republicans, look inside the Q numbers. Just 31 percent of independents describe her as honest and trustworthy while 62 percent say she is not. One in five Democrats (19 percent) say Clinton is not honest and trustworthy(!).
Need more evidence of how bad Clinton's numbers are on the honesty question? She and Donald Trump have nearly identical ratings on it. Thirty-three percent said Trump was honest and trustworthy, while 58 percent said he wasn't. Trump's numbers among independents (33 honest/58 not) are actually slightly better than Clinton's.
Take a step back from the honest/trustworthy question and you see that, at the moment, Clinton's image is suffering more broadly in the Q poll. Forty percent of voters view her favorably while 51 percent view her unfavorably; that's the low water mark for Clinton in Q polling and a far cry from the 61 percent favorable score she had in a February 2008 Q poll.
What the Q numbers suggest -- particularly when contextualized with some of the other data points out there -- is that Clinton has a real and sustaining trust problem in the eyes of the public. The focus on her private e-mail account while she served as Secretary of State and the questions raised about some donors to the Clinton Foundation have only exacerbated that problem.
That voters most prize honesty and trustworthiness when making their 2016 choice heightens the stakes for Clinton and her team to solve it. She's got 468 days to find a solution.