The 11 hours Hillary Rodham Clinton spent at the House Benghazi committee last month appears to have been time well spent: The former secretary of State has significantly improved her standing among key groups of voters, a new poll indicates.
Among Democratic primary voters, 72% said they were now satisfied with Clinton’s responses to questions about how she handled the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012, according to the Wall Street Journal/NBC poll. That’s up from 58% before her testimony.
Clinton’s lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont among primary voters also grew slightly, the poll found. It now stands at 62% to 31%
That does not mean Clinton has completely persuaded swing voters -- only about 1 in 4 said they were satisfied with her answers. But it does suggest that the testimony has gone a long way toward neutralizing the issue among voters who have not already made up their minds to oppose her.
Clinton also convinced a significant number of voters that her use of a private email server while heading the State Department is not a huge issue.
In mid-October, 47% of voters said the email issue would be an important factor in their decision on whether to vote for Clinton and 44% said it would not be important. Now, the figures have reversed, 48% say the issue will not be important to their vote, and 42% say it will be important to their decision.
By contrast, although fewer Americans have an opinion about Ben Carson, those who do tend to view the retired neurosurgeon positively, 37% to 24%.
The poll, conducted Oct. 25 through Thursday, surveyed 1000 adults and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.