Hillary Clinton remains a formidable presidential candidate in Florida, but the Democrat's popularity has dropped in the nation's largest swing state after a controversy over her email use as U.S. secretary of state, a new poll found.
The public-opinion survey, by Quinnipiac University, found former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush edges Clinton 45-42 in a potential match-up -- essentially a tie, given the poll's error margin of 3 percentage points. Clinton tops Florida Sen. Marco Rubio 46-44, also a tie. Both Bush and Rubio are Republicans.
A single poll's results matter little this early in the 2016 presidential race -- so early that Bush, Clinton and Rubio have not even declared their candidacies. But each politician's popularity trend is noteworthy, and that's where Clinton is struggling a bit. The last Quinnipiac poll, released Feb. 3, showed Clinton topping Bush 44-43 and Rubio 49-39.
Since then, more Florida voters have learned about Clinton's exclusive use of private email as secretary of state. She deleted the emails from her personal server after turning over to the State Department the ones she and her staff deemed pertinent.
When asked if Clinton is honest and trustworthy, 50 percent of poll respondents said no, compared to 41 percent who said yes. Fifty-one percent called Clinton's email troubles very or somewhat important to their presidential choice, with 38 percent saying it would affect their vote and 56 percent saying it would not.
"The good news for Hillary Clinton is that the e-mail controversy has not done huge violence to her presidential chances. But the matter is taking a toll on the former secretary of state's public image," Peter A. Brown, the poll's assistant director, said in a statement.
Clinton is viewed favorably by 49 percent of respondents and negatively by 46 percent. That rating has fallen from 53-39 percent in February. Bush's is 47-42 percent, compared to 46-38 percent last month.
Quinnipiac also surveyed two other crucial swing states. Clinton tops Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul 46-41 percent in Ohio, and Paul edges Clinton 45-44 percent in Pennsylvania. Paul has not yet announced his candidacy, either.
This post has been updated.