A new poll shows Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, trailing Hillary Clinton, the Democratic version of the same, in Florida, a major battleground state that has played kingmaker in the past, by 8 percentage points.
And it appears comments Trump made about a judge of Mexican descent that have been widely condemned may be at least part of the reason his numbers are dropping. Trump said the judge in a case involving Trump University couldn't be impartial because of his Mexican heritage, and six in 10 Florida voters said they think those were racist remarks.
The poll, released by Quinnipiac University on Tuesday, analyzed three important swing states: Ohio, Pennsylvania and the Sunshine State. No candidate for president since 1960 has won without winning in at least two of those three.
With that in mind, Clinton still holds an overall lead, but it’s much narrower than in Florida. While the two are tied in Ohio (40 percent each), the former secretary of state leads 42 percent to 41 in Pennsylvania. That represents a gain in Ohio for Trump of 1 percent and a drop for Clinton there of 3 percent. The results in Pennsylvania are virtually unchanged from the most recent Quinnipiac poll.
“[Former Secretary of State] Hillary Clinton is pulling ahead in Florida, but the pictures in Ohio and Pennsylvania are much less clear,” Peter Brown, the assistant director of the poll, said in a statement. “The at times bitter verbal battles between Trump and some Republican leaders is showing in these numbers. In these three key states, Clinton is doing better, and in the case of Florida, much better among Democrats than Trump is among Republicans.”
Clinton’s Quinnipiac lead in Florida pulls her RealClearPolitics average of polls in the state up to a 3 percent advantage. In the most recent five polls conducted, only one has shown Trump in the lead, and by just 1 percent.
Still, even if Clinton faces tough elections in Pennsylvania and Ohio, her national numbers are flourishing. Averages compiled by RCP show her 5.8 percent ahead after being virtually tied with Trump just one month ago.
Tuesday’s poll was conducted June 8-19, surveying 975 Florida voters (with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent), 971 Ohio voters (3.1 percent) and 950 Pennsylvania voters (3.2 percent). Live interviewers polled people through landlines and cell phones.