WASHINGTON, May 11, 2016 — Most polls minimize his odds of winning the presidency, but some rays of hope are shining on Donald Trump. According to a Quinnipiac University survey released on May 10, the race between Trump and Democrat frontrunner Hillary Clinton is within the margin of error in three crucial states.
Clinton leads Trump by only one percentage point in both Florida and Pennsylvania and trails the billionaire by four points in Ohio. For months, conservative and liberal pundits have dismissed Trump’s odds of winning the nomination, then of winning the general election against the former secretary of state.
Most interesting is how well Trump is doing in the Democratic stronghold of Pennsylvania. It must be a shot in the arm to his campaign and his supporters to know that he can win there. Trump is doing better than the last two GOP nominees, Arizona Sen. John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012.
The Real Clear Politics national poll averages taken between April 11 and May 9 have tightened as well. They have Clinton leading Trump 47.3 to 40.9. A CNN/ORC national average taken between April 28 and May 1 had Clinton leading Trump 54 to 41, a dismaying (for Trump) 13-point gap.
In a presidential campaign where both candidates are strapped with high negatives, the race could end up going to the last one to hit the bottom of the election barrel. The poll shows that both candidates have high negative favorability ratings with voters in all three states.
As has been true in the race for the nomination, Trump does well among white men in the current polls. A key issue in the campaign, building a wall to keep out illegal immigrants, has not critically harmed his polling numbers.
For example, in Florida the voters are split 48 to 46 percent on whether the U.S. should construct a wall along the Mexican border. Fifty-four percent of men support the wall, while 52 percent of women oppose it.
On the economy, which has been at or near the top of polls as the most critical issue facing voters, Trump leads Clinton. Even though Trump and Clinton are viewed skeptically on trustworthiness, voters feel that the successful businessman is better equipped to handle the economy and create jobs.
Terrorism is another issue that voters in the three battleground states see as a strong point for Trump; this is despite Clinton’s stint as President Obama’s secretary of state.
With six months and two national conventions still ahead, the voters in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida will be watching the candidates closely. With Ohio’s 18, Pennsylvania’s 20 and Florida’s 29 electoral votes, their combined total of 67 may determine the outcome of the election.
Whether Trump will defy the political odds makers and march successfully into November is certainly within the realm of possibility. After all, he beat 16 contenders and the GOP establishment to get this far.