Donald Trump’s brief but small lead in Florida has vanished, replaced by a big Hillary Clinton surge. The presumptive Democratic nominee now leads her Republican rival by a 47-39 percent advantage in Florida according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll, erasing the one-point lead Trump commanded in early May, immediately after assuring himself of the nomination for president.
Trump in May had also led Clinton in Ohio by a small margin. That lead is gone, though to be replaced only by a dead heat: they’re both at 40 percent. In Pennsylvania, the third crucial swing state, Clinton is ahead by one point, statistically still a tie and a result similar to that of early May.
Several factors appear to have contributed to Trump’s fading: disarray within his campaign (he fired his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, on Monday; lack of money (he began June with $1.3 million, compared to $41 million for Clinton, and has not aired any campaign ads in swing states, compared to $26 million spent by Clinton in June on advertising); lack of organization (he has a staff of 70 for the entire nation, compared to 10 times that running Clinton’s organization); Bernie Sanders’s campaign is all but over, with his supporters beginning to migrate to Clinton.
Finally, Trump’s racism has not helped him. In Florida, 58 percent of respondents found Trump to have been racist when he said that an American-born judge overseeing a fraud case against Trump University should recuse himself because of his Mexican heritage. The response was similar in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
The latest Quinnipiac poll also reflects a larger, darker national picture for Trump as Clinton has been commanding leads in national poll after poll, for an average lead of more than 5 percent according to the latest Real Clear Politics average. For all that, the Clinton campaign is not as much in control as may appear. Running even in two of the most important swing states after spending $26 million on advertising, to Trump’s zero spending, suggests that Trump is still benefiting from a base of support that is not eroding and that, absent his missteps or disorganization, could swing numbers back in his favor.
Sanders still runs much better than Clinton against Trump in Pennsylvania and Ohio, reflecting the deep dislike of Clinton among the electorate. But Clinton’s dislike still is not as bleak as the dislike for Trump. And Sanders’s numbers reflect those of a candidate who has not been under nearly as much scrutiny as Trump or Clinton. Still, the latest Quinnipiac numbers also reflect what strengths Clinton can rely on.
“The at-times bitter verbal battles between Trump and some Republicans leaders is showing in these numbers,” says Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll. “In these three key states, Clinton is doing better, and in the case of Florida much better, among Democrats than Trump is among Republicans. Traditionally GOP presidential candidates score better on this party loyalty test.”
By wide margins, voters in each state say Clinton is better prepared than Trump to be president, is more intelligent than Trump and has higher moral standards. Voters are divided on whether Trump is more honest and trustworthy than Clinton and voters in Ohio and Pennsylvania find him more inspiring.
Here’s how Quinnipiac’s numbers sum up Florida:
Trump’s support among men in Florida drops from 49 – 36 percent May 10 to 45 – 41 percent today. Clinton’s lead among women grows from 48 – 35 percent in May to 52 – 34 percent today. Republicans back Trump 82 – 8 percent, while Clinton leads 93 – 2 among Democrats and 44 – 35 percent among independent voters. White voters back Trump 51 – 36 percent, as non-white voters go to Clinton 72 – 15 percent.
Florida voters give Clinton and Trump negative favorability ratings, 39 – 53 percent for her and 33 – 61 percent for him.
Comparing the candidates’ character traits, voters say:
60 – 31 percent that Clinton is better prepared to be president;
47 – 36 percent that she has higher moral standards;
53 – 33 percent that Clinton is more intelligent;
43 percent say Trump is more honest and trustworthy and 40 percent trust Clinton;
44 percent that Clinton is more inspiring, with 42 percent for Trump;
46 percent that Trump is a stronger leader, with 45 percent for Clinton.
Trump would be better creating jobs, Florida voters say 49 – 41 percent. Clinton would be better on immigration, voters say 50 – 43 percent. Trump would be more effective against ISIS, voters say 48 – 42 percent, but Clinton would be better responding to an international crisis, voters say 54 – 39 percent.
Florida voters say 48 – 40 percent they would rather invite Trump to their backyard barbecue, but say 49 – 40 percent they would rather turn to Clinton during a personal crisis.
“Of the three swing states, Florida has the largest number of electoral vote,” Brown said. “In fact, it has the most of any of the roughly dozen states around the country considered to be in play. It is Hillary Clinton’s best state and perhaps Donald Trump’s toughest lift. One reason might be Florida has a larger Hispanic population than the other two states, and Trump has clashed with Hispanic leaders over some of his remarks.”
The poll was conducted from June 9 to 19, with 975 Florida voters interviewed by land lnes and cell phones, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent.