Poll: Nearly half of Americans 'very concerned' about Clinton emails

NEW YORK, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Nearly half of American adults are "very concerned" about two issues that have hounded Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign this year: her use of a private email server to conduct government business and donations to her family's charitable foundation, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Wednesday.

Both issues stem from Clinton's tenure between 2009 and 2013 as secretary of state, during President Barack Obama's first term. During that time, she used an unauthorized private email server to conduct government business - something that the Federal Bureau of Investigation earlier this summer criticized as "extremely careless."

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Representative Susan Brooks, a Republican from Indiana, questions Hillary Clinton, former U.S. secretary of state and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, not pictured, during a House Select Committee on Benghazi hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. Under scrutiny for her handling of the Benghazi attacks and her use of a private e-mail server, Clinton plans to invoke the memory of slain U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens to defend her approach to diplomacy, saying they shared a common belief in the need for America to lead. Photographer: Pete Marovich/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at an event at the New York University Leonard N. Stern School of Business in New York on July 24, 2015. The Justice Department said it had received a request to probe whether Hillary Clinton mishandled sensitive government information by using her private email for State Department business. 'The Department has received a referral related to the potential compromise of classified information,' a department official said in a brief statement that confirmed in part a story that first appeared in The New York Times. AFP PHOTO/ KENA BETANCUR (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MARCH 10: Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to the media after keynoting a Women's Empowerment Event at the United Nations March 10, 2015 in New York City. Clinton answered questions about recent allegations of an improperly used email account during her tenure as secretary of state. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
Hillary Clinton answers questions from reporters March 10, 2015 at the United Nations in New York. Clinton admitted Tuesday that she made a mistake in choosing for convenience not to use an official email account when she was secretary of state. But, in remarks to reporters after attending a United Nations event, she insisted that her email set-up had been properly secure and that she had turned over all professional communications to the State Department. AFP PHOTO/DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MARCH 10: Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to the media after keynoting a Women's Empowerment Event at the United Nations March 10, 2015 in New York City. Clinton answered questions about recent allegations of an improperly used email account during her tenure as secretary of state. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MARCH 10: Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to the media after keynoting a Women's Empowerment Event at the United Nations March 10, 2015 in New York City. Clinton answered questions about recent allegations of an improperly used email account during her tenure as secretary of state. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MARCH 10: Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to the media after keynoting a Women's Empowerment Event at the United Nations March 10, 2015 in New York City. Clinton answered questions about recent allegations of an improperly used email account during her tenure as secretary of state. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MARCH 10: Huma Abedin (R), aide to former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, looks on during a news conference following Clinton's keynote speech at a Women's Empowerment Event at the United Nations. Clinton answered questions about recent allegations of an improperly used email account during her tenure as secretary of state. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 03: Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and other members of the House Select Committee on Benghazi speak to reporters at a press conference on the findings of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's personal emails at the U.S. Capitol on March 3, 2015 in Washington, D.C. The New York Times reported that Clinton may have violated the law by using a personal email account for official business at the State Department. (Photo by Gabriella Demczuk/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 03: Peter Roskam (R-IL), Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) of the House Select Committee on Benghazi speak to reporters at a press conference on the findings of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's personal emails at the U.S. Capitol on March 3, 2015 in Washington, D.C. The New York Times reported that Clinton may have violated the law by using a personal email account for official business at the State Department. (Photo by Gabriella Demczuk/Getty Images)
Hillary Clinton answers questions from reporters March 10, 2015 at the United Nations in New York. Clinton admitted Tuesday that she made a mistake in choosing for convenience not to use an official email account when she was secretary of state. But, in remarks to reporters after attending a United Nations event, she insisted that her email set-up had been properly secure and that she had turned over all professional communications to the State Department. AFP PHOTO/DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 03: Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) of the House Select Committee on Benghazi speaks to reporters at a press conference on the findings of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's personal emails at the U.S. Capitol on March 3, 2015 in Washington, D.C. The New York Times reported that Clinton may have violated the law by using a personal email account for official business at the State Department. (Photo by Gabriella Demczuk/Getty Images)
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The Clinton Foundation's acceptance of donations from foreign governments and corporations while Clinton herself was secretary of state has drawn criticism about possible conflicts of interest. In August, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump called on the Justice Department to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate whether Clinton granted any special favors in exchange for those donations.

The Sept. 2-11 online poll found that 46 percent of American adults said they were "very concerned" about Clinton's use of a personal email account, while 47 percent said the same about donations from foreign governments or corporations to the Clinton Foundation.

The public appears to have mostly responded to these issues along party lines, with nearly twice as many Republicans expressing concern as Democrats. However, a considerable portion of Democrats appear to be just as rattled by the reports.

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All the best IT guys plead the fifth. http://t.co/TgL5veqC6S
He absolutely has the right to invoke the Fifth. We absolutely have the right to take an adverse inference from it. http://t.co/OFXCCMhtG5
@UrbanAchievr @hipEchik smart move for a criminal.
@UrbanAchievr @thamburger now we KNOW she's INNOCENT
Hillary's server setup was totally appropriate, which is why the State Dept worker who set it up will take the 5th. http://t.co/cXes9xFBWi
Everything's legal until put under oath. Sh*t just got real https://t.co/Xog9VLhtaX
@gabrielmalor @allahpundit give the staffer immunity and let's get this show on the road
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Among Democrats, 21 percent were very concerned about Clinton's emails, and 22 percent were very concerned about the Clinton Foundation donations. Among Clinton supporters, 14 percent said they are very concerned about the emails, and the same proportion said they are concerned about donations.

The issues, which have drawn wide attention by the media and by her opponents, may have eroded Clinton's popularity, but it is not clear whether they have made a lasting impact on her level of support in the presidential race against Trump, where she holds a small lead.

Since the beginning of August, a growing portion of Americans have expressed a negative view of Clinton. Yet, when asked to pick between her and Trump for president, Americans have given a small, but consistent advantage to Clinton.

According to the poll, among the respondents who said they were concerned about the emails, 52 percent said the main reason was because the emails might contain classified information that was vulnerable to hackers. Another 40 percent were mostly concerned that Clinton had violated State Department policies.

Among those who said they were concerned about donations to the Clinton Foundation, 48 percent said they were generally concerned about foreign money being contributed to organizations run by high-ranking politicians, while 38 percent said they were specifically concerned that donors had more access to Clinton while she was serving in the Obama administration.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online in English in all 50 states. It asked questions only to those respondents who were aware of the email and the Clinton Foundation issues. There were 2,745 respondents for the email questions, including 1,070 registered Democrats and 944 registered Republicans. There were 2,116 respondents for the Foundation questions, including 817 registered Democrats and 801 registered Republicans.

The poll has a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of 2 percentage points for the entire sample, and 4 points for the Democrats and Republicans.

(Editing by Richard Valdmanis and Leslie Adler)

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