Hillary Loses a Third of Her Support

"Honesty and empathy" gap grows; loses 29% of female support

In what ABC News is calling "remarkable" findings, the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll found that Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton has seen a third of her support evaporate.

While Washington outsiders Donald Trump and Ben Carson pull away from the more "establishment" Republican candidates, Clinton's scandals are clearly catching up with her, opening the door for Democratic socialist Bernie Sanders and Vice President Joe Biden, should he choose to run. 

ABC found that the biggest negative driving the precipitous collapse in Clinton support was "increased doubt about her honesty and empathy." This growing since of doubt has resulted in "dramatically" shrinking support, now 42%, down 21 points from July when it stood at an imposing 63%. Though Clinton is still the clear leader, her tanking support forced ABC to admit that her campaign's in "trouble":

In the Democratic contest, Clinton's drop is dramatic, yet not enough to threaten her clear lead. She's supported by 42 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents who are registered to vote, down from 63 percent in July, while Sanders has gained 10 points, to 24 percent, and Joe Biden's up by 9 points, to 21 percent. If Biden doesn't run, most of his support moves to Clinton, boosting her to 56 percent – exactly double Sanders' support in this case.

Even if still in a strong position, Clinton's trajectory leaves no question that she has trouble. Just 39 percent now see her as honest and trustworthy, matching her career low; that has dropped by 14 points since last summer. At 46 percent, her rating for empathy –- understanding the problems of average Americans -– is at a career low (albeit by a single point). Her support in the primary has tanked in particular among women, previously a mainstay of her candidacy, from 71 percent in July to 42 percent now.

When ABC dug a little deeper, they found that Clint's support has really fallen off among basically all categories, including whites, non-whites, men and women. Among nonwhites, her support has dropped off by 14 points, while whites have moved away from her by an even greater rate, 25%. Support for Clinton among women has dropped a stunning 29 points and 9 points among men. 

According to the poll, Republican frontrunner Trump suffers from even worse empathy and trustworthy ratings than his potential opponent, while 6 in 10 do not believe he's qualified for the job. Though his overall numbers aren't great, Republican voters view Trump are more positively, giving him 33% of the Republican vote, double-digits over the next highest rated candidate, Carson, who is hovering around 20% and is up a remarkable 14 points since July. 

The leading "establishment" Republican candidate continues to be Jeb Bush, who only managed to earn 8 percent of the vote, which is still four times better than Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who's down to a dismal 2%. Senators Ted Cruz (TX) and Marco Rubio (FL) each sit at around 7%.


See the full survey results here

Telephone survey conducted Sept. 7-10, 2015, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,003 adults, including 821 registered voters (33% Democrats, 22% Republicans, 35% Independents among all adults, 34-25-33 among registered voters). Margin of sampling error of 3.5 points for the full sample and 4.0 for registered voters, including the design effect.