The nation’s view of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, colored by the horrific Benghazi assassination of the U.S. ambassador to Libya on her watch, has suddenly turned upside down, with more now holding an unfavorable opinion of the likely 2016 presidential candidate.

A new YouGov/Economist poll found Clinton, whose approval ratings have typically been sky high, with an unfavorable rating of 48 percent, more than the 46 percent who have a favorable opinion of her.

The YouGov pollsters said that the change in American attitudes toward Clinton "suggests that negative press surrounding the tragic September 11, 2012 attack on the consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which led to the death of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others, may have impacted views about Clinton and her tenure at the State Department."

During her time at State, Clinton’s favorable ratings were typically 15 points higher than her unfavorable ratings. But since she left the post, the public seems to have soured on her.

Although it might be distressing to her supporters, she still crushes any potential competition for the Democratic presidential nomination, said the pollsters. Some 51 percent of Democrats favor Clinton. Her nearest competitor, Vice President Biden, is the pick of just 9 percent. In some polls taken after she left Foggy Bottom, Clinton was the pick of more than 60 percent of Democrats.

Among all groups polled, Clinton’s favorability fell in the new poll when compared to January 2013. Using a four-week average of polls, Clinton’s favorability fell among all adults from 56 percent to 47 percent. Among independent voters, she fell from an average of 51 percent favorable in January to 40 percent in November. She even fell among African Americans. In January her favorable average among blacks was 80 percent. Last month it fell to 68 percent.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at