It’s just one poll, and there are six months until the general election, but Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton begin the race essentially tied in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida, according to a Quinnipiac University survey released Tuesday.
With voters split along gender, race and age, and both candidates burdened by negative public perceptions, the presumptive Republican nominee and likely Democratic nominee appear set up for tight battles in the three swing states.
Since 1960, no presidential candidate has won without carrying at least two of the three.
The poll finds Bernie Sanders would run better against Trump as the Democratic standard-bearer — a boost to the argument the Vermont senator is pushing as he tries to overcome Clinton’s huge delegate lead.
In Pennsylvania, Clinton was favored by 43 percent of registered voters, to 42 percent for Trump.
The former secretary of state has a 19-point lead among women, while Trump leads by 21 percentage points among men.
Women back Clinton 51 percent to 32 percent, while men go to Trump 54 percent to 33 percent. White voters favor the Republican, 48 to 37 percent. Non-white voters go to the Democrat, 74 to 14 percent.
Clinton and Trump both have negative favorability ratings. For Clinton, 37 percent of those polled have a positive view of her, and 58 percent have a negative view; while for Trump the split is 39 percent favorable, and 55 percent negative.
Pennsylvania voters say, 51 percent to 42 percent, that Trump would do a better job than Clinton handling the economy. They are divided on who best would handle terrorism, with 47 percent saying Trump and 46 percent Clinton.
An encouraging sign for Clinton in Pennsylvania: 55 percent say Clinton has the better temperament to handle an international crisis, while 23 percent say Trump does.
In Florida, 43 percent of registered voters back Clinton, the survey finds, to 42 percent for Trump. In Ohio, Trump edges Clinton 43 percent to 39 percent, while Sanders gets 43 percent to Trump’s 41 percent.
At roughly the same point in 2012, Quinnipiac surveys had President Obama leading the eventual Republican nominee, former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney, by single digits in Ohio and in Pennsylvania, while Romney led by 1 percentage point in Florida. (Obama ended up winning all three by single digits.)
Four years earlier, eventual Democratic nominee Obama trailed Arizona Sen. John McCain by 1 point each in Florida and Ohio, but led by 9 points in Pennsylvania. (Obama won Florida and Ohio by single digits in November, and took Pennsylvania by 10 percentage points.)
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