WASHINGTON – Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump in Florida and three other crucial swing states, according to a new poll out Friday, good news for the Clinton campaign that has seen other surveys show the presidential race tightening in recent weeks.
In the Sunshine State, Clinton leads Trump, 44% to 37%. Clinton’s lead slips to 5 points with third party candidates are factored in the results. They were a factor in the latest poll from NBC/Wall Street Journal.
Third-party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein are included. Clinton with high single-digit leads in Florida, Colorado North Carolina and Virginia. Clinton maintains these leads, though in head-to-head battles with Trump. But those leads shrink a bit when Johnson and Stein are in the poll.
Clinton leads Trump in Colorado 43% to 35%. Johnson performs best in this state — he garners 12% support when included in the poll, which shrinks Clinton and Trump’s support to 39% and 33%, respectively.
Clinton is ahead of Trump in North Carolina 44% to 38%, a state which President Barack Obama won for Democrats in 2008 for the first time since 1976. It reverted red in 2012, but polling has shown Clinton competitive there, drawing significant support from minority communities.
Finally, Clinton leads Trump comfortably in Virginia, 44% to 35%. Johnson performs well here too — Clinton leads Trump 41% to 34% when he’s included, and he draws 10%.
A Quinnipiac poll of other battleground states released earlier this week — Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Iowa — showed closer races, with Trump leading or tied with Clinton. In Florida, Quinnipiac found Trump up 3 percentage points to Clinton, 42%-39%. Both surveys found about one in five voters in Florida are undecided or don’t support either Trump or Clinton.
Clinton’s strong suit is with minority groups, while the survey identified a tight race in several states that have been slowly trending from red to blue. This was especially true where minority groups in the so-called “rising American electorate” are growing, but that experts did not expect to see move to the Democrat’s column just yet.
Trump’s proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and to deport 11 million immigrants in the country illegally, along with his unsolicited support from white supremacist groups, seem to have accelerated that shift: An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Wednesday that otherwise showed Clinton and Trump competing hard found Trump getting zero percent of the black vote in Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Clinton hopes to improve upon Obama’s performance in Georgia, where African-Americans make up 29 percent of active voters according to data compiled by the Georgia secretary of state.
In 2008, then-Sen. Obama lost Georgia by more than 5 points, and lost the state by nearly 8 points in his 2012 re-election campaign. In April, Trump led Clinton by 6 points in Georgia; the new poll finds Clinton has a 1-point lead over Trump in the Peach State, 42.8 percent to 41.8 percent, a toss-up that leans toward Clinton.
There is a very long way to go but plenty of interesting things when you look inside these polls. Only a couple of thousands of them to come between now and November.