POLITICS
02/16/2016 06:33 pm ET

Hillary Clinton's Edge On Foreign Policy Doesn't Matter Much To Voters

Democratic voters care a whole lot more about the economy.
Win McNamee via Getty Images

Recent Democratic debates have tended to play out in two acts: a foreign policy section that allows Hillary Clinton to tout her experience as secretary of state, and an economic segment that puts her on the defense over her ties to Wall Street.

There's a reason Clinton stresses her foreign policy bona fides: in a new HuffPost/YouGov poll, 59 percent of likely Democratic primary voters say she'd do a very good job of handling foreign policy as president. Just 23 percent say the same of her rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I).

But while she holds a significant advantage on the issue, it may prove to be less of an electoral edge than she hopes. She hasn't managed to convince most Democratic voters that Sanders isn't reasonably qualified on his own merits, with about three-quarters saying that he'd do at least a somewhat good job as president.

Meanwhile, the drumbeat of Sanders' attacks seems to be having an effect on some aspects of Clinton's economic credibility.

Back in 2013, a HuffPost/YouGov poll found that only 20 percent of potential Democratic primary voters thought Clinton would be too accommodating to Wall Street and big banks, while 49 percent said she'd stand up to financial interests.

In the latest survey, she's still viewed as more likely than not to stand up to Wall Street. But the share of likely Democratic primary voters who think she'd capitulate has risen to 37 percent, compared to just 12 percent who say the same of Sanders.

The banking system, of course, is far from the be-all and end-all of economic policy. But foreign policy, in any form, is far from the top of most Democratic voters' minds. An overwhelming majority, 79 percent, say that economic policy is of more concern than foreign policy in their decision this year.

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Feb. 8-10 among U.S. adults, including 222 likely Democratic primary voters, using a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.

The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls.You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov's nationally representative opinion polling. Data from all HuffPost/YouGov polls can be found here. More details on the polls' methodology are available here.

Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some, but not all, potential survey errors. YouGov's reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample, rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.

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