A Quinnipiac University poll has great news for Hillary Clinton, and bad news for Republican presidential hopefuls, in three critical battleground states. The poll, released on Tuesday, shows Hillary Clinton ahead of every major Republican presidential candidate in the three pivotal swing states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
In most of the match-ups, the race isn’t even close. For example, Clinton holds double-digit leads over Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, and Rand Paul in each of the three states surveyed. She also leads Jeb Bush by 15 points (50-35) in Pennsylvania, and by 11 points in Ohio (47-36). Only in Florida, where Jeb Bush served as Governor, is that match-up competitive.
Quinnipiac has Clinton nudging Bush by a 44-43 margin in Florida, making that contest essentially a toss up. The only other competitive contest surveyed was a hypothetical race between Hillary Clinton and Ohio Governor John Kasich in Ohio. In that battle, Clinton edges Kasich 44-43.
Two other Republicans candidates did not fare well in their home states. In Florida, Hillary Clinton leads Marco Rubio 49-39. Rick Santorum would get blown out in his home state of Pennsylvania. The poll found Clinton up 54-34 over Santorum in the Keystone State.
Part of what makes Hillary Clinton so dangerous for Republicans is that voters in the swing states have a favorable opinion of her. She is especially popular in Pennsylvania, where her favorable to unfavorable spread is 17 points, with 55 percent of voters viewing her favorably, and only 38 percent having an unfavorable opinion towards her. She is slightly less popular in Florida (53-39) and Ohio (51-40).
By contrast, swing state voters generally have a negative or neutral opinion towards most of the Republican candidates. The lone exception is that Florida voters view Jeb Bush positively (46-38), although even there he is viewed less positively than Hillary Clinton.
Early polling should not be interpreted as meaning the presidential race is a slam dunk for the Democrats. There is still a lot of time between now and November 2016. Candidates will redefine themselves, and move up and down in popularity, as the campaign wears on. However, as of February 2015, Hillary Clinton is popular in three large swing states. Republicans have reason for concern. If they do not change the dynamics of the contest in 2016, not only could they lose the race for the White House, but they could get buried in a political landslide.