A little over five weeks into Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, things were looking particularly good for the rogue candidate who defied expectations and rose to the top of some polls. But a Quinnipiac University Poll out Wednesday found apparent cracks in the veneer. Trump was showing big negative ratings on favorability in some key swing states, and led both Republicans and Democrats in the unfavorability category.
Trump wasn’t the only one who could find reason to worry in the poll. The data show that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has fallen behind three leading Republican hopefuls in three important swing states in a hypothetical general election. She could face tough races in Colorado, Iowa and Virginia against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush or Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Her biggest primary challenger, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., matched her or beats her in hypothetical matchups with Republicans in two swing states, Iowa and Colorado.
For Clinton, part of her drop in the poll seems linked to her perceived leadership abilities.
“On being a strong leader, a key metric in presidential campaigns, she has dropped four to 10 points, depending on the state, and she is barely above 50 percent” in Iowa, Virginia and Colorado, said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, in a statement. “She has lost ground in the horse race and on key questions about her honesty and leadership.”
In April, Clinton’s polling in those key states was much rosier. In an April 9 poll from Quinnipiac, she was ahead in five of the matchups and basically tied in four others.
Other findings in the poll show that Walker, who recently came in first among Republicans vying for an Iowa caucus win, leads Republicans there in terms of favorability. Rubio has the best favorability numbers in Colorado. Bush is at the top in Virginia.
For the Democrats, though Vice President Joe Biden doesn’t beat out Republicans in key swing states like Clinton or Sanders seem able to do, he does rank at the top in favorability. He has the highest favorability among Democrats in all three of the states polled. [Biden has not announced plans to run for president.]
Recent national polls have put Trump as the front-runner among the GOP pack, but many will argue that polls mean little this early in a campaign season. One caveat to that, though, is that the first Republican debates, to be held in August and hosted by Fox News, will feature only the top 10 polling Republicans in the field. More mainstream Republicans have expressed concern that Trump could derail those debates.
The poll was conducted July 9 - 20 among 1,231 Colorado voters, 1,236 Iowa voters and 1,209 Virginia voters, by cell phone and landline. There is a margin of error of 2.8 percent.