A first look at three critical swing states — Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania — for the 2016 presidential election is good news for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who tops possible Republican contenders in every match up, except Florida, where she ties former Gov. Jeb Bush, and Ohio, where she ties Gov. John Kasich, according to a Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll released today.
Overall, Bush runs best of any Republican listed against Clinton, the Quinnipiac University Poll finds. The Swing State Poll focuses on Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania because since 1960 no candidate has won the presidential race without taking at least two of these three states.
Clinton’s favorability rating tops 50 percent in each state, while Republican ratings range from negative to mixed to slightly positive, except for Bush in Florida and Kasich in Ohio.
Of three native son candidates, measured against Clinton just in their home states, only Ohio Gov. John Kasich gives the Democrat a good run, getting 43 percent to her 44 percent.
Match ups between Clinton and her closest Republican opponent in each state show:
- Florida: Clinton at 44 percent to Bush’s 43 percent;
- Ohio: Clinton over Bush 47 to 36 percent;
- Pennsylvania: Clinton tops New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie 50 to 39 percent.
“There is a reason why Hillary Clinton has followed a slower, less aggressive schedule when it comes to ramping up her expected presidential campaign than have virtually all of her potential White House opponents,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.
“She holds double-digit leads over all her potential GOP opponents in the three biggest swing states, except for two native sons, Bush and Kasich. And she is under little pressure from within her own party to hit the campaign trail,” Brown said.
“Although history suggests that once she becomes a full-fledged candidate — and part of the nastiness that comes with politics these days — those numbers may drop some. She begins the campaign in very strong shape with voters and not just Democrats. In the three big swing states she is getting 86 to 93 percent of Democrats, 36 to 54 percent of independent voters and even up to 15 percent of Republicans. Because Clinton would be the first woman major party presidential nominee, she probably gets an extra boost among women, who tend Democratic.”
Women are the key to the Democrat’s dominance over Republican contenders. She leads among women by margins of 9 to 31 percentage points. Men are more evenly divided.
Clinton’s biggest deficits with men are 8 percentage points against Bush in Florida and 9 points against Kasich in Ohio.
In Florida, Clinton is locked in a veritable tie with Bush, while she tops other Republican contenders by comfortable margins:
- 51 to 33 percent over Christie;
- 50 to 38 percent over U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky;
- 51 to 34 percent over former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee;
- 49 to 39 percent over U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.
In the Clinton-Bush match up, women back the Democrat 50 to 41 percent, while men go Republican 45 to 37 percent.
Against other Republicans, Clinton’s margins among women range from 18 percentage points to 25 points.
She gets a 53 to 39 percent favorability rating from Florida voters, compared with Bush’s 46 to 38 percent favorability. Scores for other Republicans are:
- Negative 28 to 41 percent for Christie;
- 30 to 25 percent for Paul;
- 31 to 31 percent for Huckabee;
- 36 to 36 percent for Rubio.
“Not surprisingly, Mrs. Clinton’s worst state among the three is Florida. In the trial heat against the Sunshine State’s former governor, Jeb Bush, she and he are statistically tied. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, trails 49 to 39 percent,” Brown said.