WaPo | Let’s be clear: Hillary Clinton did not lose the 2016 election because of Russian meddling or WikiLeaks. And here is the proof: WikiLeaks began publishing its trove of Democratic National Committee emails on July 22, 2016, three days before the Democratic National Convention. By then, Hillary Clinton was already in a deep hole with American voters.
Long before WikiLeaks, Americans had concluded that Clinton was a congenital liar. A CNN poll taken July 13-16 found that 65 percent of voters said Clinton was neither honest nor trustworthy and that 57 percent would not be proud to have her as president. A July 16 CBS News poll showed similar results — 67 percent of voters said Clinton was not honest or trustworthy. And little wonder. By then, Clinton had lied so often, for so many years, about so many things — her emails, the Clinton Foundation, Benghazi, arriving in Bosnia under sniper fire, Whitewater, the firing of White House travel aides, the Madison S&L — that most Americans no longer believed a word she said.
It’s no surprise, then, that long before WikiLeaks, her approval rating was underwater. The same pre-WikiLeaks CNN poll found that 55 percent of Americans viewed Clinton unfavorably, while just 41 percent viewed her favorably — the lowest favorable rating she had scored in CNN polling in 24 years, going all the way back to April 1992. Gallup had similar results in its poll taken July 16-23. “As the Democratic National Convention gets underway in Philadelphia,” Gallup reported at the time, “Hillary Clinton’s image is at its lowest point in the 24 years of her national career, with 38% of Americans viewing her favorably and 57% unfavorably.”
In other words, the WikiLeaks stories simply confirmed what Americans already knew: that Clinton was dishonest and corrupt.