Democratic presidential hopeful and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, right, waves as she leaves the Iowa State Capital following a meeting with members of the Iowa State legislature on April 15, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Washington CNN —  

A rash of negative stories about Hillary Clinton’s ethics have failed to hurt her standing with Iowa Democrats, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday.

Sixty percent of likely Democratic Caucus participants said they support Clinton, a number similar to the 61% who supported her in February. Like Democrats nationally, 76% of Iowa Democrats polled said Clinton is honest and trustworthy and only 7% said they would “definitely not support” her.

“One thing is obvious about Iowa Democratic Caucus participants: They are loyal as the day is long, at least when it comes to Hillary Clinton,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “The former secretary of state has taken a major pounding in the news media and from her political opponents over her e-mail and family foundation. So far these criticisms have had absolutely no effect on her standing among Iowa Democrats.”

Since announcing last month, Clinton and her nascent campaign have been dealing with scrutiny over her exclusive use of personal email at State, her family foundation’s questionable fundraising practices and a congressional investigation into the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.

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The fact Clinton hasn’t been significantly stung by these stories in Iowa is bad news for her Democratic challengers.

Clinton’s closest competitor in Iowa is Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Fifteen percent of likely Iowa Democratic caucus goers said Sanders was their first choice in the poll that was conducted before and after Sanders announced his presidential run late last month.

Sanders’ support level is triple the 5% he received in the February poll.

Vice President Joe Biden, who has not committed to running, received 11% support and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb both received 3% support.

The poll finds that 40% of Iowa Democrats are not sold on Clinton, but as noted by Brown – ” there is no candidate who appears to have the political and financial resources at this time to successfully take her on.”

“Absent a change of events,” Brown said, “numbers like those from Democratic core voters in Iowa make a strong statement: There may be a lot of talk about what Bill and Hillary Clinton have done since he left the presidency, but nothing has penetrated her base of support.”

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