Polls Show Clinton Lead Slipping in Key Swing States

Polls Show Clinton Lead Slipping in Key Swing States
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Hillary Clinton’s lead over Donald Trump in several key battleground states, including Ohio and Pennsylvania, is slipping, according to two new polls released Wednesday.

A Quinnipiac survey showed that Trump has overtaken the Democratic nominee in Florida and Pennsylvania, while the two are tied in Ohio. A NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll also had the two opponents in a dead heat in the Buckeye State, but put Clinton in front in both Pennsylvania and Iowa. RealClearPolitics’ polling average still has Clinton up by more than four percentage points nationally, although her lead has decreased since the beginning of July.

The biggest discrepancy in the two polls comes in the Keystone State, where Quinnipiac has Trump up by two points, while the NBC News poll has Clinton ahead by nine. However, both show that the former secretary of state is losing ground; Quinnipiac had her leading by one point in June, and NBC had her up by 15.

A possible explanation for the difference in the two sets of numbers might derive from when the polls were conducted -- June 30-July 11 for Quinnipiac, and July 5-10 for NBC.

Despite the variance, “the conclusion that the race has gotten closer is the same,” said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “It does show that last week was not Hillary Clinton’s best week.”

One big news item that occurred during the polling period was FBI Director James Comey lambasting Clinton for her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. In a July 5 press conference, Comey called her behavior “extremely reckless,” although he recommended that she not be indicted.

Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll, said it’s “reasonable to assume that Ms. Clinton’s brush with the FBI regarding her emails may very well have had an effect” on her polling numbers.

Brown pointed to the trustworthiness issue in particular as a possible explanation for why the race has tightened. According to the Quinnipiac poll, in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, nearly half of respondents believe that Trump is more “honest and trustworthy” than Clinton.

From June 30-July 11 Quinnipiac surveyed: 1,015 Florida voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points; 955 Ohio voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points; 982 Pennsylvania voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

The NBC/WSJ/Marist polls, conducted July 5-10, surveyed 822 registered voters in Iowa with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points; 848 registered voters in Ohio with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points; and 829 registered voters in Pennsylvania with a margin of error of plus or minus  3.4 percentage points.

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