Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are deadlocked in the crucial swing states of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida, according to new polls showing the presumptive Republican presidential nominee gaining strength on his Democratic rival because of doubts about her honesty.
Surveys from Quinnipiac University show the two candidates statistically tied in the states going into their party conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia this month. Trump leads Clinton in Florida by a margin of 42 percent to 39 percent. In Pennsylvania, he is ahead, 43 percent to 41 percent. And in Ohio they are tied, with each having support of 41 percent of voters.
When Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party nominee, and Jill Stein, the Green Party’s candidate, are included in the polls, Trump does even better, leading Clinton by five points in Florida, six points in Pennsylvania and one point in Ohio. Johnson is expected to be on ballots in all 50 states.
The polls, which have margins of error of plus or minus three percentage points, show improvement for Trump in Pennsylvania and Florida, where he is starting to do better with women and independent voters while gaining more support among men. In June, Clinton held small leads over Trump in Florida and Pennsylvania and they were tied in Ohio.
The polls are good news for Trump, who weathered a rough stretch of controversies and campaign upheaval. For Clinton, the numbers could raise concern that the recent attention on her email practices as secretary of state has taken a toll. The Department of Justice has dropped the case, but several of Clinton’s statements were disputed by the FBI, which said she was “extremely careless” with classified information.
“While there is no definite link between Clinton’s drop in Florida and the U.S. Justice Department decision not to prosecute her for her handling of emails, she has lost ground to Trump on questions which measure moral standards and honesty,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll.
Voters in all three states are looking for “radical change” and are unhappy with the way trade deals have impacted America’s economy. While Clinton is viewed as being more prepared to be president, Trump is seen as the more honest candidate and better suited to fight terrorism.
Despite the progress, Trump continues to struggle in some areas. For instance, in Florida, which has a large Hispanic population, Trump is only winning 21 percent of nonwhite voters.
But he is also making progress with other important voting blocs. Trump has struggled with female voters in many national polls, but in Pennsylvania he has narrowed the gender gap. He currently trails Clinton by just four points, down from 16 points in June.
Both candidates are expected to campaign aggressively in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida ahead of the November election. No candidate has won the presidency without winning two of those three states since 1960, Quinnipiac notes.
“Donald Trump enters the Republican convention on a small roll in the three most important swing states in the country,” Brown said.
© 2016 New York Times News Service