Poll: Benghazi threatens to crash Hillary Clinton's 2016 bid

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Hillary Clinton,Polls,2016 Elections,Benghazi,Campaigns

Exactly half the nation sees the year-old killings of the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya as a serious scandal — one many believe will hurt former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s chance to be the next president, according to a newly-released national poll.

Rasmussen Reports revealed that 43 percent of likely voters believe the scandal will damage Clinton. That rises to 47 percent among voters not affiliated with any political party, like independents. Some 41 percent said it wouldn't ding her chances.

The impact is clear, and not just on Clinton. Most — 58 percent — rated the administration’s fumbled response and explanation to the attack on Sept. 11, 2012, (the anniversary of 9/11) as fair to poor, with “poor” registering 43 percent.

Added to that, Rasmussen found that 50 percent consider the Benghazi situation to be a serious scandal, 24 percent view it as an embarrassing situation only and 13 percent called it no big deal.

And the nation still wants answers. Some 79 percent told Rasmussen that they want to “get to the bottom” of the scandal, a finding that should bolster congressional efforts to probe why so little help was provided to the Americans under terrorist attack in Benghazi.

But few believe they will ever get answers. Only 36 percent said “it is even somewhat likely that the murderers of the ambassador and the other three Americans will be caught and punished,” reported Rasmussen. Fifty-two percent believe the murderers are unlikely to be caught.

The survey of 1,000 likely voters was conducted on Oct. 28-29 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at