The nation’s faltering economy is pushing voters in three swing states to prefer Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton, according to three new polls.
The polls, conducted by Quinnipiac University, surveyed voters in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, important swing states in general elections. No Republican in modern times has won the White House without winning Florida and Ohio. Pennsylvania has long been in the Democrat column for Presidential contests, but is highly competitive for other offices.
In Florida, Trump has a 14-point edge over Clinton on handling the economy, 54-40. In Ohio, Trump’s edge is 12 points, 52-40. Even in Democrat-leaning Pennsylvania, Trump has a strong 9-point edge over Clinton on whom voters trust to handle the economy, 51-42.
It is noteworthy that voters in Pennsylvania are decidedly more pessimistic about the economy than those in Ohio or Florida. Voters in Ohio and Florida are twice as likely to say the economy is getting better in their states than voters in Pennsylvania. Almost half of voters in the two states say they are better off financially then they were a year ago, while less than 40 percent of Pennsylvania voters report the same.
Despite the different outlooks on the economy, Trump’s edge over Clinton is very strong in all three states.
Trump also has an edge over Clinton on handling a terrorist attack, but the advantage is slight, especially compared to the economy. Any advantage for Trump on the issue, however, is noteworthy given Clinton’s strong emphasis on her tenure as Secretary of State and purported readiness to be Commander-in-Chief.
Perhaps the most fascinating finding in the poll, though, is the fact that in areas where Trump polls badly with voters, Clinton polls worse. Trump’s unfavorable numbers in all three states are bad, ranging from 55 percent to 57 percent. But Clinton’s are even worse, at 57 percent to 62 percent.
Between 55-58 percent of voters in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania don’t think Trump is honest or trustworthy. However, 66-69 percent of voters in these states don’t think Hillary is honest.
One the question of whether or not a candidate “cares” about the needs of “people like you,” both Trump and Clinton rate roughly the same. Democrat candidates usually have a pronounced edge over Republicans on this question.
Overall, in a head-to-head match-up, Trump and Clinton are tied in all three states. Trump has a slight advantage in Ohio, while Hillary has a one-point edge in Florida and Pennsylvania.
It is interesting that Trump runs competitively in all three states even though voters disagree with him on his core issues. Strong majorities of voters in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania say they believe illegal immigrants currently in the country should be allowed to stay and, eventually, become citizens. Less than a third of voters in all three states say illegal immigrants should be deported.
A majority of voters in Ohio and Pennsylvania also say they oppose building a wall along the Mexican border, Trump’s highest profile issue. In Florida, voters are evenly split, with 48 percent both supporting and opposing a border wall.
Trump’s strong challenge to Clinton seems more built on his perceived ability to tackle the economy and voters’ view that he is a stronger leader than Clinton.
The only clear advantage Clinton has over Trump is on the question of which candidate has the temperament to handle an international crisis. A majority of voters in all three states believe Clinton does have the right temperament, while almost two-thirds of voters believe Trump doesn’t have the right temperament.
The election in November may very well come down to whether the nation is facing an economic or a foreign policy crisis. If economic, Trump has the edge. If the U.S. faces an international crisis, though, Clinton is favored.
It says a lot about the Obama administration that either or both scenarios are very likely.