Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is losing ground in his home state to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and has failed to gain any in either Ohio or Pennsylvania, according to a Quinnipiac University poll centered on the 2016 U.S. presidential race in the three swing states whose results were released Thursday. Among Democrats, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the clear top choice in the three swing states despite the controversy surrounding her use of private email to conduct State Department business.
In Florida, Bush still leads the potential Republican field with the support of 24 percent of registered GOP voters, but his share has dropped 8 percentage points since February, while Walker has gained 7 percentage points to reach 15 percent. Close behind is Florida’s other favorite son, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, with 12 percent. Nobody else pushed through double digits.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich is leading in his home state with 20 percent. No other candidate was in double digits. Bush’s 8 percent in the latest poll was comparatively unchanged from the 9 percent he had in a February poll. Walker also couldn’t get traction among Ohio voters. He polled at 10 percent in February and 9 percent in the most recent poll.
However, the Wisconsin governor has overtaken Bush in Pennsylvania. At 10 percent in February, Bush was tied for second place with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in Pennsylvania, a state then led by 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who has since decided not to take a third shot at the White House. Walker had only 5 percent in that February poll, but now he leads in the Keystone State with 14 percent. At 9 percent in the latest poll, Bush is tied for second place with former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, a Pennsylvanian who also ran in 2012, and retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson.
“Gov. Scott Walker continues to be the surprise in the early part of the 2016 campaign. We’ve got a long way to go till Iowans caucus next winter, but the Wisconsin governor has climbed into the first tier of contenders along with establishment favorite Jeb Bush, who can’t be happy with his numbers today,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll. “Bush has a lead over the field in his home state of Florida, but it’s not anywhere near insurmountable. There is no clear leader in Pennsylvania, and Gov. John Kasich, the native son, is ahead in Ohio.”
Meanwhile, Clinton wasn’t heavily damaged by the email controversy. Among registered Democrats, she actually boosted her numbers in Florida, going from 61 percent before the controversy to 65 percent now. And her standing in Ohio increased 3 percentage points, from 51 percent to 54 percent. But in Pennsylvania her support dropped from 54 percent to 48 percent.
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who has said repeatedly she isn’t running, was the Democrats’ second choice in Ohio and Pennsylvania. She trailed Clinton, 54 percent to 14 percent in Ohio and 48 percent to 15 percent in Pennsylvania.
In Florida, Vice President Joe Biden was the Democrats’ second choice. But Clinton still has a nearly 6-to-1 advantage over him, 65 percent to 11 percent.
In its most recent poll, Quinnipiac University surveyed by phone March 17-28 a total of 1,087 voters in Florida, 1,077 voters in Ohio and 1,036 voters in Pennsylvania, with varying margins of error in the three swing states.