What Hillary's sinking poll numbers mean for 2016

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," June 3, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


REP. TREY GOWDY, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: Have you been through all of her records to determine what's public and what's private?


GOWDY: You're processing what was originally on the server or are you processing what she provided to you?

BARR: We are processing what she provided to us.

GOWDY: Do you know what mechanism she would have gone through to determine herself what was public record and what was private and what may have been of mixed use? Do you know who made that initial determination for the former secretary?

BARR: She has told us that she erred on the side of inclusion.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Questions about Hillary Clinton's e-mails, that private server, what was destroyed, what has been turned over when the e-mails come forward. This as a Democrat from Massachusetts said today, "You know what? An independent judge probably is needed."


REP. MICHAEL CAPUANO, D-MASS.: I do think that there is a fair question when you've used the bulk of your time on a private e-mail server to have some neutral observer, not the U.S. Congress that's clearly going after a political witch hunt here, but to have some individual judge that everybody trusts or something to go through them and make a determination as to what is and what is not appropriately subject to public scrutiny.


BAIER: OK, some new Fox News polls out on the Democratic nomination. Obviously it's early and another candidate got in today, but Hillary Clinton leads. Her lead is shrinking, though, in this new poll from May until now. It's still huge, obviously, as you can see.

But some other numbers are pretty interesting. The race for the Democratic nomination, it's not over yet -- 69 percent. This is among Democratic primary voters. That's just one of the interesting tidbits from this new poll.

Let's bring in our panel, Steve Hayes, senior writer for The Weekly Standard, contributor to the new book, "Dadly Virtues" we should point out. There you go. Pause for the book. Very nice. Charles Lane, opinion writer for The Washington Post, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer.

OK, "Dadly Virtues," give us a sense of what this really means as these polls, not only the Fox polls but Washington Post-ABC suggests there is a slide and concern over the e-mails and the Clinton Foundation.

STEVE HAYES, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Yes, I have found fascinating the same numbers that you found fascinating, 69 percent of Democratic primary voters don't think that this process is over suggests that people aren't yet locked in to their support for Hillary Clinton even though she's got support of 57 percent of voters.

Look, I think when you take a broad look at the Democratic primary and you look at Hillary Clinton and her problems, it was inevitable that her numbers were going to slide. You had sort of Democrats and many of the media reporting with glee that she hadn't been affected by the e-mail story and the Benghazi story and all of these things. Clearly she was going to be affected. There was just a lag effect, and I think we're seeing those problems manifest now.

What's also interesting is that her numbers have slipped not only on honest and trustworthy, which we've heard a lot about, but also on Benghazi specifically. And if you look at the CNN/ORC poll, she's lost a lot of ground on the Benghazi question. And, interestingly, Republicans have been seen as doing a good job broadly on their handling of Benghazi, which hadn't been noted in many places.

BAIER: A Clinton strategist over on CNN today, Chuck, said this about the polls and movement.


JOEL BENENSON, CLINTON CAMPAIGN ADVISER: I think that what's happening here in this period, and we know that when any other person who has been in some other role like secretary of state comes back into the fray as a candidate, you anticipate a period where once someone is in the political arena, partisans are going to go their corners and you're going to see some changes.

We don't think there's been any significant change. We think there's been a minimal change in her numbers in the polling that we're looking at and analyzing extensively. We think that's true in the vast majority of public polls that have been out there.


BAIER: Well, here's a couple more questions from two polls, including the Fox poll. The likelihood the Clintons were selling influence to those who donated to the Clinton Foundation, very or somewhat, 61 percent, not at all, 33 percent. From Washington Post-ABC, do you approve of the way Hillary Clinton is handling her email questions -- approve 31 percent, disapprove, 55 percent. Chuck?

CHARLES LANE, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, that's true, and I agree with Steve that she's taken a series of hits here. But the number that I focused on in the FOX poll at least was this one about Democratic primary voters, how troubled they are.

BAIER: We have that one, too.

LANE: Yes. And 68 percent combined are either not that troubled or not at all troubled. And I think if I were Hillary's campaign adviser making that comment he did, that would be what I would be basing it on. At the end of the game, this game is about two events, the nomination and the general election. And right now she is still very well positioned to get the nomination because of this number I just said.

And secondly, we still see that she is, albeit sometimes within the margin of err, leading all the Republican candidates. I think what this all amounts to a much slower liftoff to her campaign than she would have liked, and I think it's also putting some pressure on her to end this news blackout or whatever that she has going on the issues and so forth, because to fight that untrustworthy number, which is a problem for her, she's going to have to start taking some positions, sticking her neck out, showing some courage politically on the issues.

BAIER: I think one of the things that a lot of analysts are looking at is that almost every day we get a new something. Today, The Washington Times has a story of $26 million through a fundraising arm that was unknown previously in Sweden, and as that country is lobbying the secretary of state on sanctions about their dealings with Iran, $26 million plus $750,000 speech to the former president. They explain away this, but it does seem every day there is something else.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: And that everydayness, I don't think people are going to remember the specific event, but the everydayness of this reinforces the idea that we saw two to one Americans believe that they were selling influence, which is not good.

Now, among Democrats, it makes no difference, as you showed in that poll. They are unconcerned by this, and 69 percent of Democrats, nonetheless, say that the nomination fight is not over. It is over. Those 69 percent of Democrats are wrong. She has the nomination. She has no serious challengers. Bernie Sanders is not going to be the Democratic nominee or anybody else in the field.

BAIER: Well, I want to bring up another candidate. As of tonight Lincoln Chafee, former Rhode Island governor, former Republican senator, he came out, said he's running. Among the things that he said was this.


LINCOLN CHAFEE, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Earlier I said, let's be bold. Here's a bold embrace of internationalism. Let's join the rest of the world and go metric. I happen to live in Canada and they've completed the process. Believe me, it's easy. It doesn't take long before 34 degrees is hot.


CHAFEE: Only Myanmar, Liberia, and the United States are not metric. And it will help our economy.


BAIER: OK. He talked to Peter Doocy there. He said it's one out of 10 ideas that sets him apart. He says he doesn't consider himself a long shot because it's so early, and he explains why he doesn't mention Hillary Clinton by name. That time will come. OK. He's going metric.

KRAUTHAMMER: You know, the passion of that statement, I think, is really rather overwhelming and this is a country crying out to go kilogram. You can hear it everywhere you go. They want to go metric, and this is one of the major issues of our time.

Look, when Hillary has only three challengers and he's one of them, you know that this nomination race is a farce. She has the nomination, barring an act of God, and unless Senator Warren steps in from Massachusetts, which she is unlikely to do, she has no reason to do, it's over.

But what's interesting about it is, nonetheless, she feels so weakened and threatened by the e-mail scandal, the foundation scandals and all, she's running hard left. We talked about that the other night. She really thinks she has to sew up the nomination by changing her position and becoming essentially a mirror image of Elizabeth Warren and Obama, which is going to hurt her in the general election.

BAIER: Are these other candidates going to ding her up at all on the Democratic side?

LANE: I think they should all move to the United States first. If it's true that Lincoln Chafee is living in Canada, that's kind of a remote location to run for president of the United States. But Bernie Sanders is, I think, drawing some good crowds in Iowa. That red meat liberal rhetoric that he is putting out will excite some people, and that could rough her up a little bit.

HAYES: Her favorables, unfavorables among independents, 39 to 55 in the CNN poll. She's paying a price for having gone left. She's paying a price for these scandals. I understand why Charles said this is over. I hope we don't have to play that videotape back. I would just say let's reserve our judgments for now.

KRAUTHAMMER: Are you planning --

HAYES: I'm just saying, stranger things have happened.

KRAUTHAMMER: You have to go like Lincoln Chafee and be bold.

BAIER: Be bold.

HAYES: Go metric.

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