September 18, 1997 12:00 AM

Forty-six percent of New York voters believe Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton did something unethical but not illegal in connection with pardons handed out by her husband on the last day of his presidency, according to a statewide poll of 514 registered voters taken by Marist College’s Institute for Public Opinion. Fifteen percent believe the former first lady did something illegal, per the poll. Thirty-nine percent believe she did nothing wrong. A majority, 58%, said they didn’t believe her claim last week that she was not aware until well after the fact that her brother, lawyer Hugh Rodham, had received almost $400,000 (since returned) to help win two presidential pardons. Thirty percent maintained that they believed her.

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