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Most Still Say Clinton Should Have Been Indicted

Most voters still disagree with the FBI's decision not to seek a criminal indictment of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton over her mishandling of classified information when she was secretary of State, and even more rate the issue as important to their vote.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 39% of Likely U.S. Voters agree with the FBI’s decision not to indict Clinton after it concluded that she potentially exposed top secret information to hostile countries when she used a private e-mail server as secretary of State. But 53% disagree and believe the FBI should have sought a criminal indictment against her. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

These findings are basically unchanged from July when FBI Director James Comey first announced the decision not to seek an indictment.

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Seventy percent (70%) of voters say Clinton’s mishandling of classified information is important to their vote for president, with 49% who say it’s Very Important. Twenty-seven percent (27%) say the issue is not important, but that includes only nine percent (9%) who say it’s Not At All Important to how they will vote.

Newly released information shows that a State Department official offered the FBI a secret deal to take the classified rating off one of the e-mails Hillary Clinton sent on her private e-mail server. That e-mail was about the incident in Benghazi, Libya in which four Americans were killed, including the U.S. ambassador, and was one that triggered the FBI's investigation of Clinton's private e-mail server.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on October 18-19, 2016 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Sixty-five percent (65%) of voters think it’s likely Clinton broke the law by sending and receiving e-mails containing classified information through a private e-mail server while serving as secretary of State.

Clinton's Republican rival Donald Trump continues to hammer her about the more than 30,000 e-mails she and her staff chose to delete and not turn over to the FBI. Sixty-two percent (62%) of voters think it is likely those e-mails were deleted to hide something incriminating. Just 34% feel it would be bad for U.S.-Russia relations if the Russians had obtained those e-mails through cyberspying and now turned them over to the FBI.

But 85% of Clinton’s supporters agree with the FBI’s decision not to indict her; 92% of Trump supporters disagree. Thirty-seven percent (37%) of Clinton voters say the issue is important to their vote, compared to 96% of Trump voters. Most undecided voters and supporters of Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein also consider this an important voting issue.

Eighty-five percent (85%) of Republicans and 55% of voters not affiliated with either major political party disagree with the FBI’s decision not to indict Clinton. Just 22% of Democrats share that view; 70% of voters in Clinton's party agree with the FBI's decision. Seventy-seven percent (77%) of Republicans and 51% of unaffiliateds consider Clinton’s e-mail issue Very Important to their vote in the election, but only 23% of Democrats agree.

Men and voters 40 and older are more likely than women and younger voters to disagree with the FBI’s decision not to indict Clinton.

Eighty percent (80%) of voters who disagree with the FBI’s decision say the issue is Very Important to their vote, compared to just 14% who agree with the decision.

When it was first disclosed in March of last year that Clinton was using a private e-mail server while secretary of State, 39% of all voters said she was deliberately trying to hide things from government oversight, but 30% didn’t think that was true. Just as many (31%) were undecided.

Following the release in June of the final congressional committee report on the Benghazi incident, 49% said Clinton lied to the families of those killed there when she told them the deaths were the result of an inflammatory anti-Muslim video on YouTube.

Despite the controversy over her e-mails, 38% believe serving as secretary of State is Clinton’s most important professional accomplishment.  In distant second is her role as first lady which 16% rate most important.

Nearly half of voters still say their choice this presidential election will be the lesser of two evils, but fortunately for both candidates, most also say a candidate's policy positions are more important than their character.

Forty-six percent (46%) of voters believe both Trump and Clinton are less ethical than their political peers. Fifty-six percent (56%) consider both Clinton and Trump liars.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on October 18-19, 2016 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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