Perhaps FBI Director James Comey’s description of Hillary Clinton’s “extremely careless” actions regarding her private email server has made an impact after all. In the latest swing state poll, she has lost her leads against Donald Trump, who now narrowly beats her.
The Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday had The Donald leading Hillary by three points in Florida (42 percent to 39 percent), and in Pennsylvania by two points (43 percent to 41 percent). Ohio is a perfect tie (41 percent to 41 percent).
This represents a colossal shift from last month (June 21), when Clinton led Trump by 8 points in Florida (47 percent to 39 percent), and by one point in Pennsylvania (42 percent to 41 percent). The Ohio result is largely unchanged.
This last bit of information flies right in the face of the Trump supporters who say Republicans voting for a Libertarian candidate will hand the election to Hillary. With third party candidates in the race, the polls actually support Trump even more.
In Florida, Trump leads by five points (41 percent to 36 percent), with 7 percent for Libertarian Gary Johnson and 4 percent for the Green Party candidate Jill Stein. In Ohio, Trump picks up a small lead over Clinton (37 percent to 36 percent), with Johnson at 7 percent and Stein at 6 percent. In Pennsylvania, Trump’s lead jumps to 6 points (40 percent to 34 percent), with Johnson at 9 percent and Stein at 3 percent.
This evidence may frustrate both Trump supporters and #NeverTrump conservatives alike. It suggests that Trump can win, even — or perhaps especially — with Johnson picking up above 5 percent of the vote. This frees conservatives to vote for Johnson, without handing the election to Hillary.
As Quinnipiac notes, no candidate since 1960 has won the presidential race without two of these three states.
But the data suggests even more problems for Hillary. In Florida, she and Donald tie on who has higher moral standards (both at 42 percent), wiping out a 47 – 36 percent Clinton lead on this last month.
Perhaps most surprisingly, Trump leads Clinton on honesty and trustworthiness by 13 points (50 percent to 37 percent). This is a huge jump from June 21, when Trump led by only 3 points (43 percent to 40 percent).
Florida voters rank Trump as the best candidate for creating jobs (54 percent to 39 percent), addressing immigration (49 percent to 45 percent), and in fighting the Islamic State (57 percent to 37 percent).
Ohio voters agree that Trump would be best for creating jobs (54 percent to 39 percent) and fighting ISIS (51 percent to 40 percent), but say Clinton would be better on immigration (48 percent to 45 percent) and at responding to an international crisis (50 percent to 43 percent). Those numbers are similar for Pennsylvania voters.
Next Page: Does this mean Trump is the favorite to win in November?
But this doesn’t mean Trump is suddenly the favorite to win the election this November.
FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver put Trump’s chances of victory at 20 percent late last month, and even his models have given Trump a better chance since then. He encourages data journalists to find the “signal” by cutting through the “noise.” Are these results mere noise, or are they a signal of a broader movement toward The Donald?
Despite the leads Trump picked up in this poll, FiveThirtyEight still only gives him a 27.4 percent chance of winning the presidency when only polls are considered. This is an outlier, but Quinnipiac is a good polling source. That may be one of the reasons why the “polls-plus” model gives him better odds, at 31.3 percent.
It’s still very early in the general election campaign, and there is a non-zero chance that a delegate revolt occurs at the Republican National Convention. The race could still be shaken up further, and it is very hard to predict what will happen. Even so, this is rather good news for The Donald, even if his chances of winning are still in the high twenties.