With only 587 days left until Americans vote for their next president, a new swing-state poll released Tuesday by Quinnipiac University offers the latest dose of good and bad news for Democrats and Republicans. The good news for Democrats is that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, should she be the party’s nominee, still beats the field of possible 2016 GOP challengers even though her margins of victory are down in critical states like Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania.
Hillary Down But Still Up
The good news for Republicans is that their on-going attacks on her over emails are moving the needle of public perception a little. In none of these three states do voters say she’s honest and trustworthy.
Today’s Q-Poll shows the closest contests are in Florida, where former Gov. Jeb Bush gets 45 percent to Clinton’s 42 percent, and Pennsylvania, where U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky gets 45 percent to Clinton’s 44 percent. The Swing State Poll focuses on Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania because no candidate has won the presidential race without taking at least two of these three states since 1960.
Even though Clinton’s favorability rating is down in each state, she still does better than Republican contenders, except for Jeb Bush and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio in Florida. Clinton is not honest and trustworthy, Florida voters say 50 – 41 percent and Pennsylvania voters say 49 – 44 percent. Ohio voters are divided as 47 percent say yes and 46 percent say no.
“The good news for Hillary Clinton is that the e-mail controversy has not done huge violence to her presidential chances,” Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll said, adding, “But the matter is taking a toll on the former secretary of state’s public image.” Whether Republican broadsides to her are working is still up for debate, but she is still considered a strong leader, which remains a key characteristic for voters when picking a president when compared to her leading, but lesser-known, potential GOP opponents. What isn’t positive is that about half the voters in all three states question her honesty and trustworthiness.
Majorities in each state think Clinton still has questions to answer about her e-mails, the report said. Voters in each state are evenly divided on whether Congressional hearings are warranted although a majority thinks such a hearing would be politically motivated rather than justified, which could hurt Republicans and help her if they choose to prosecute her on this subject.
Hillary Rocks With Women
The gender gap remains wide as Clinton leads among women in every contest, by margins of 7 percentage points to 28 percentage points. Her margins among men range from a 3 percentage point lead to a 23-point deficit.
In Ohio, Clinton’s margins of victory are smaller but she still leads all Republicans. Gov. Kasich, who has not declared his candidacy but continues to campaigning as a third-tier prospect, was not included in this poll.
47 – 38 percent over Bush, compared to 47 – 36 percent February 3;
45 – 39 percent over Christie, compared to 47 – 34 percent;
46 – 41 percent over Paul, compared to 48 – 36 percent;
49 – 39 percent over Huckabee, compared to 49 – 34 percent;
47 – 38 percent over Rubio;
49 – 38 percent over Walker;
48 – 38 percent over Cruz.
Ohio voters are divided 51 – 49 percent on whether Clinton’s e-mail problems are important or not in their vote for president, and 61 percent say this issue won’t affect their vote. Clinton has provided satisfactory answers on the e-mail issue, 41 percent of voters say, while 52 percent say serious questions remain. A Congressional investigation into Clinton’s e-mails is politically motivated, rather than justified, voters say 54 – 40 percent.
Something for Secretary Clinton’s team to worry about, Brown said, is the 36 percent of independent voters in Ohio who say they are less likely to vote for her because of the e-mail controversy. Q-Poll said 1,077 Ohio voters were contacted with a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.