Poll: Will the Benghazi Controversy Hurt a Possible Presidential Run by Hillary Clinton?

Michael Catalini, Naureen Khan and Peter Bell
National Journal

On a scale of 1 to 10, how politically damaging is the Benghazi controversy to a possible presidential bid by Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2016, with 1 representing "no damage" and 10 representing "highly damaging"?


Average: 3.4

1-3: 60%
4-6: 33%
7-10: 7%


"If Hillary Clinton is the Democratic presidential nominee in 2016, the only thing that will matter is the condition of the economy. Voters have short memories anyway."

"No one from the majority Obama coalition is leaving Clinton for the GOP because of Benghazi. It only plays to folks who are already not for her."

"To the survivor of the scandal wars of the 1990s, this non-scandal is about as threatening as a gnat."

"She has a great deal of goodwill from being secretary of State, and it's hard to sustain outrage (that probably doesn't exist at the level of the voter) for three more years."

"A whole lot of stuff is going to happen in the world over the next three years that will make Libya a tragic loss of life that is fairly inconsequential by comparison."

"Tempest in a teapot. Would require the voters to care about something they can't pronounce. They don't."


"I'll say a 5 now—because they haven't pinned anything to her. But if something comes out, after all this time, it'll be politically lethal."

"Hillary will be dogged on this because the Right will see to it, and Biden will remain silent in her defense. Welcome to 2016!"


"This gives detractors a 'legitimate' reason to not support her and hurl insults at her, once again. But she'll rise above it, as she always does."


On a scale of 1 to 10, how politically damaging is the Benghazi controversy to a possible presidential bid by Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2016, with 1 representing "no damage" and 10 representing "highly damaging"?


Average: 6.0

1-3: 13%
4-6: 42%
7-10: 45%


"Women candidates need to show they are tough. No one doubts Hillary is tough, and this just reinforces that image."

"At some point, she'll make a real speech on this, and it will be put to rest for all but the helicopter crowd."


"It's far enough away that she can recover, but this will give her opponents an opportunity and her major donors pause."

"Benghazi has a drip, drip quality to it. E-mails, memos will sink USS Hillary."

"It is Obama's problem now more than HC's, but time and nasty hearings could change that. What did the secretary know, and when did she know it?"

"She will not emerge unscathed, but Clintons have a way of squirming out of controversies they create."


" 'What difference does it make' will be the first TV ad. An incredible stumble for someone so experienced."

"The 3 a.m. call came, and she was sleeping. Not a stellar example of leadership."

"While Bill Clinton would roll over this like a speed bump, Hillary will lose a lot of momentum and goodwill—precisely because her image (unlike Bill's) has been one of integrity and competence. This badly tarnishes her key selling points."

"It's all over except the excuse for why she won't run."

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Democratic Political Insiders Jill Alper, John Anzalone, Brad Bannon, Dave Beattie, Andy Bechhoefer, Cornell Belcher, Matt Bennett, Mitchell W. Berger, Mike Berman, Stephanie Bosh, Paul Brathwaite, Donna Brazile, Mark Brewer, Ed Bruley, George Bruno, Bonnie Campbell, Bill Carrick, Guy Cecil, Martin J. Chavez, Tony Coelho, Larry Cohen, Jerry Crawford, Brendan Daly, Jeff Danielson, Peter Daou, Howard Dean, Scott DeFife, Jim Demers, Tad Devine, David Di Martino, Debbie Dingell, Monica Dixon, Patrick Dorton, Pat Dujakovich, Anita Dunn, Jeff Eller, Steve Elmendorf, Carter Eskew, Vic Fazio, Peter Fenn, Scott Ferson, Jim Fleischmann, Tina Flournoy, Don Foley, Jeffrey Forbes, Vincent Frillici, Gina Glantz, Niles Godes, John Michael Gonzalez, Joe Grandmaison, Anna Greenberg, Stan Greenberg, Pat Griffin, Larry Grisolano, Michael Gronstal, Lisa Grove, Marcia Hale, Jill Hanauer, Dick Harpootlian, Paul Harstad, Laura Hartigan, Doug Hattaway, Mike Henry, Karen Hicks, Leo Hindery Jr., Harold Ickes, Marcus Jadotte, John Jameson, Steve Jarding, Jonathon Jones, Jim Jordan, Gale Kaufman, Lisa Kountoupes, Celinda Lake, David Lang, Penny Lee, Chris Lehane, Jeff Link, Bob Maloney, Jim Manley, Steve Marchand, Jim Margolis, Paul Maslin, Keith Mason, Susan McCue, Gerald McEntee, Steve McMahon, Tom McMahon, Phil McNamara, David Medina, Michael Meehan, Mark Mellman, John Merrigan, Michael Monroe, Steve Murphy, Janet Napolitano, David Nassar, Marcia Nichols, John Norris, Tom Ochs, Tom O'Donnell, Jeffrey Peck, Debora Pignatelli, Tony Podesta, Jefrey Pollock, Jack Quinn, Larry Rasky, Mame Reiley, Ed Rendell, Steve Ricchetti, Will Robinson, Steve Rosenthal, David Rudd, Ryan Rudominer, John Ryan, Michael Sargeant, Stephanie Schriock, Terry Shumaker, Sean Sinclair, Phil Singer, Erik Smith, Doug Sosnik, Greg Speed, Darry Sragow, Ken Strasma, Doug Thornell, Jeffrey Trammell, Ed Turlington, Rick Wiener, James Williams, JoDee Winterhof, Brian Wolff, Jon Youngdahl, and Jim Zogby.

GOP Political Insiders Dan Allen, Stan Anderson, Gary Andres, Saulius (Saul) Anuzis, Rich Ashooh, Whit Ayres, Brett Bader, Mitch Bainwol, Brian Baker, Gary Bauer, David Beckwith, Paul Bennecke, Clark Benson, Wayne Berman, Brian Bieron, Charlie Black, Kirk Blalock, Carmine Boal, Jeff Boeyink, Ron Bonjean, Jeff Buley, Luke Byars, Nick Calio, Al Cardenas, Danny Carroll, Alex Castellanos, Ron Christie, Jim Cicconi, Jonathan Collegio, Rob Collins, Cesar Conda, Jake Corman, Scott Cottington, Jay Cranford, Greg Crist, Diane Crookham-Johnson, Fergus Cullen, Tom Davis, Mike Dennehy, Ken Duberstein, Debi Durham, Sara Fagen, Frank Fahrenkopf, John Feehery, Don Fierce, Mindy Finn, Carl Forti, Alex Gage, Bruce A. Gates, Sam Geduldig, Adam Geller, Benjamin Ginsberg, David Girard-diCarlo, Bill Greener, Jonathan Grella, Lanny Griffith, Janet Mullins Grissom, Doug Gross, Todd Harris, Steve Hart, Christopher Healy, Ralph Hellmann, Chris Henick, Terry Holt, David Iannelli, Ed Ingle, Jim Innocenzi, Clark Judge, David Keating, David Kensinger, Bob Kjellander, Ed Kutler, Chris LaCivita, Jim Lake, Steven Law, Steve Lombardo, Kevin Madden, Joel Maiola, Gary Maloney, David Marin, Mary Matalin, Dan Mattoon, Brian McCormack, Mark McKinnon, Kyle McSlarrow, Ken Mehlman, Jim Merrill, Lisa Camooso Miller, Tim Morrison, Mike Murphy, Phil Musser, Ron Nehring, Terry Nelson, Neil Newhouse, David Norcross, Ziad Ojakli, Jack Oliver, Todd Olsen, Kevin O'Neill, Connie Partoyan, Billy Piper, Van B. Poole, Tom Rath, Scott Reed, David Rehr, Tom Reynolds, Steve Roberts, Jason Roe, David Roederer, Dan Schnur, Russ Schriefer, Rich Schwarm, Brent Seaborn, Rick Shelby, Andrew Shore, Kevin Shuvalov, Don Sipple, Ken Spain, Fred Steeper, Bob Stevenson, Terry Sullivan, David Tamasi, Eric Tanenblatt, Richard Temple, Heath Thompson, Jay Timmons, Warren Tompkins, Ted Van Der Meid, Dirk van Dongen, Jan van Lohuizen, Stewart Verdery, Dick Wadhams, John Weaver, Lezlee Westine, Dave Winston, Ginny Wolfe, Fred Wszolek, and Matthew Zablud.