June 19, 2015 — On the surface, the numbers from three key polls look good for former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton (D), but the underlying figures tell a different story.
Quinnipiac University released simultaneous polls in a trio of key states, places where the pollster says no candidate since 1960 has been elected without carrying two of the three. Hence, respondents in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania were randomly queried. The questions were posed during the June 4-15 period and the sample sizes ranged from a low of 970 (PA) to a high of 1,191 (OH). The format included hypothetical ballot tests between Clinton and various Republican candidates, in addition to asking personal favorability and political environment questions.
Clinton does well on the ballot tests. In Florida, she leads both Sunshine State GOP favorite sons Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio. Clinton tops Bush 46-42 percent, and Rubio 47-44 percent. Her best performances are against Ohio Gov. John Kasich (13-point spread), and Gov. Chris Christie (NJ), Sen. Ted Cruz (TX) and ex-Gov. Mike Huckabee (AR), each by 11 percentage points.
In both Pennsylvania and Ohio, the Q-Poll discovers scenarios where Clinton trails. Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) leads her 47-40 percent in the Buckeye State. Senators Rubio and Rand Paul (KY) each score one-point advantages over her in Pennsylvania. But, Clinton leads in all other scenarios except tying with Sen. Paul in Ohio (43-43 percent). Her biggest lead (eight points) in that state is posted against Sen. Cruz. Her best spread in PA is seven points, against both Cruz and Huckabee.
But the bad news for her is evident in all three places, and each survey tells a similar story. Like in several national polls, Clinton languishes in a situation where a majority of polling respondents report not trusting her. In all three states, a majority of respondents do not consider her to be honest and trustworthy.
In Florida, her honesty ratio is 43:51 percent. It is 40:53 percent from Ohio. And, she registers an even worse 40:54 percent in Pennsylvania. In stark contrast, all of the Republicans are in positive territory on the honesty/trustworthy question.
Her mediocre, at best, personal favorability readings in the three states are mostly in a slightly upside down mode. The numbers are: FL: 47:45%; OH: 44:48%; and, 46:48% in Pennsylvania.
The GOP candidates score similarly to Clinton in personal favorability, with several of them faring considerably worse. But, the undecided/need more information response is much higher across the board for the GOP than it is for the former First Lady. Therefore, the Republican numbers are more fluid; hence, they have a higher ceiling in which to grow.
Since national polls have shown virtually equivalent honest/trustworthy data, these results are not particularly surprising. In actuality, Clinton’s numbers have improved a bit from when the first reports surfaced about her private email account.
But, the big surprise is how poorly she fares on the questions asked about whether the candidate cares for the average voter’s problems and needs. Usually, Democrats record better scores on this question than do their Republican counterparts. But, not Clinton, at least in these three surveys. The fact that the same pattern emerged in each of the key swing states detects what could become a very damaging problem.
In Florida, 48 percent of the respondents say she cares about the average voter’s needs and problems versus 46% who say she does not. By contrast, the strongest Republican on this question, Rubio, scores a positive 53:37 percent ratio.
Her Ohio “caring” tally is 48:48 percent. Conversely, Gov. Kasich registers a 58:34 percent positive score.
In Pennsylvania, her “caring” numbers are upside down, 45:51 percent. The strongest Republican on this question is Sen. Paul who posts an opposite 48:34 percent figure.
While Hillary Clinton demonstrates strength among Democrats, she is just slightly above even against lesser-known Republicans before the entire electorate. More troubling, however, are her weak image fundamentals, numbers that are going to prove very difficult to reverse for a universally known individual.