Q-Poll: Rubio Best Against Democrats

Aug. 24, 2015 — Quinnipiac University simultaneously polled the swing states of Florida (1,093 registered voters), Ohio (1,096 registered voters), and Pennsylvania (1,085 registered voters) during the Aug. 7-18 period and found that neither Donald Trump nor Jeb Bush is the strongest Republican against a trio of potential Democratic nominees. Rather, it is Florida Sen. Marco Rubio who scores the highest in ballot test pairings opposite his Democratic counterparts.

The young senator, however, isn’t quite as strong on the Republican primary ballot test, placing third in all three states including his own. The Q-Poll’s three state combination does show that Rubio would be the Democrats’ most formidable opponent, therefore suggesting he has the potential of likewise creating a surge among Republicans.

The pollsters paired three Democrats: Hillary Clinton, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Vice President Joe Biden, with three Republicans: Trump, Bush, and the Florida senator. The data finds that Rubio is the only one of the trio who leads Clinton in each of the three places. In fact, he tops all three Democrats everywhere in the tested region with the exception of trailing VP Biden in Ohio, but by just one percentage point, 42-41 percent.

All of the general election swing state pairing results are tight. Clinton would lose two of the three states to Bush and one of three (Florida) to Trump. Despite his high personal negative ratings, Trump does well in these important states, averaging 40.3 percent as compared to Clinton’s aggregate 43.0 percent. In the Sunshine State, Trump forges ahead of all three potential Democratic nominees. Bush, the state’s former governor, would carry Florida against the trio of Democrats by margins of between 11 and 19 points.

It is obvious that these three big swing states will again play an extremely important role in determining the identity of the next president. Today, they appear completely up for grabs. Even Pennsylvania, which has not gone Republican since George H. W. Bush carried the state in 1988, appears to be a legitimate toss-up state in the early stages of the 2016 presidential contest. This is unfavorable news for Democrats considering their strong PA presidential performance during the past two decades.

But, the Quinnipiac Poll also finds nuggets not seen in any other survey. According to this data, Trump becomes the first candidate to top Bush and Rubio in their home state. Trump attracts 21 percent of the Florida Republican vote against Jeb Bush’s 17 percent, and Sen. Rubio’s 11 percent.

Trump also does well among Pennsylvania Republicans, leading the pack of candidates here, but fails to capture first place in Ohio. Gov. John Kasich, the Buckeye State’s favorite son, would lead his home region with 24 percent, and appears to have an inside track towards capturing the state’s 66 Winner-Take-All delegates.

The Q-Poll does not bring all good news for Trump, however. While he has the strongest support level of any Republican candidate, the internationally renowned businessman also has the highest negatives. Of all the candidates, in response to the question about whom the cell sample would not support, Trump again places first on this troubling question.

An average of 32 percent of the Republican voters in these three states say they would never support Donald Trump for president. This result underscores Trump’s fundamental problem as a candidate. While he is building a legitimate support base, it is not so large or strong enough to carry him to the nomination. And, with an equally large anti-Trump base forming, it will become very difficult for him to sustain enough momentum to capture the nomination. This is particularly true if the Republican battle splinters into a brokered convention scenario.

For now, the race seems to have stabilized. We can expect to see more momentum forming for other candidates once the debate schedule again resumes. The nomination contest, particularly for Republicans, is far from being decided.

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