By STAFF WRITER AUGUST 19, 2015
The 2016 US presidential candidate and frontrunner of the Democratic Party, Secretary Hillary Clinton is facing multiple setbacks since announcing her presidential candidacy back in April.
Mrs. Clinton, who officially entered into the campaign trail just two months ago, lost in the opinion polls for the first time in the New Hampshire 2016 Democratic primary.
Bernie Sanders, the Senator from Vermont who is also running for the Democratic nomination, beat Clinton by seven percentage points in the latest New Hampshire polls conducted by Franklin Pierce University and Boston Herald.
The New Hampshire primary is the first in a series of nationwide primary elections to choose party nominees and is regarded to be a major testing ground both for its timing and the massive media coverage it receives. A win in the New Hampshire primary, according to some scholars, increases a candidate’s expected share of final primary count by a remarkable 27 points.
Sanders, who is rapidly closing the gap on Clinton, also came neck and neck in the informal Iowa State Fair 2015 poll, losing to Mrs. Clinton by only 1.5 points.
The Hillary team however, downplays Sanders’ latest gains.
Mrs. Clinton’s sagging poll numbers came at a time where an intense investigation by the FBI is underway over an allegation that she exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state, thus violating federal requirements that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record.
Mrs. Clinton has denied the accusations, saying everything she did is not in violation of any laws or regulations. But last week, the FBI opened an investigation to check whether classified information could be compromised, compelling Mrs. Clinton to turn over her personal email server to the Department of Justice, as well as thumb drives containing copies of her e-mails.
It is a House committee investigation of the attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi that led to the discovery of Mrs. Clinton’s personal email account, according to The New York Times, the first to break the news back in March.
How much the email controversy will hurt Clinton’s campaign — amid the Sanders aggressive rivalry — and whether it could ultimately force her out of the race remains a matter open for debate.