Longtime readers may know how I feel about Quinnipiac and their polls. If not, here you go. And it looks like they've done it again, though less egregiously than before. But hey...progress!
In their press release headline for today's latest batch of swing state polls, they tell us that Hillary has "inched up" in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. However, that's simply not an accurate representation of their own results. What today's polls actually tell us is that Clinton is holding steady in Pennsylvania, caught up with Trump in Ohio, and opened up a comfortable lead in Florida!
With Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Partier Jill Stein added to the mix, Clinton loses a couple of points off her margin in Florida but gains a couple of points on Trump in Pennsylvania and Ohio.New Quinnipiac polls just out this morning:— Ryan Struyk (@ryanstruyk) June 21, 2016
Florida: Clinton 47, Trump 39
Ohio: Clinton 40, Trump 40
Pennsylvania: Clinton 42, Trump 41
Ohio may well come down to the wire yet again this fall, but it's admittedly odd to see proud "blue wall" member Pennsylvania as a toss-up while Florida trends toward landslide territory. To try to make some sense of this, we can look at where the Clinton camp is spending their money as well as checking out exit polls from the previous presidential election.
So far, much of the big Clinton ad money is being poured into Ohio and Florida, with North Carolina close behind. There are several other swing states getting some dollars too, but noticeably absent is Pennsylvania. If it was anywhere close to a 1-point race there, North Carolina would not be getting that money instead of Pennsylvania. Also, looking back at the last several presidential elections, Democratic candidates have always outperformed in the Keystone State in comparison to their national popular vote margin. Heck, even Kerry won there in 2004 by a couple of points while losing the national popular vote by a similar margin. So if Hillary is leading nationwide (and she is), there's a good chance she's leading by even more in Pennsylvania.
Next, let's look at 2012 exit poll party ID data (Democrat, Republican, Independent) from these states and compare them to the internals of Quinnipiac's new polls. Note that there's an additional category of "other/don't know" in the party IDs for the Q polls, which is why those numbers don't add up to 100%:
Florida Q poll:
D 33 - R 31 - I 30
Florida 2012 exit poll:
D 35 - R 33 - I 33
The +2 D margin is the same in both.
Ohio Q poll:
D 34 - R 27 - I 33
Ohio 2012 exit poll:
D 38 - R 31 - I 31
The +7 D margin is the same in both.
Pennsylvania Q poll:
D 37 - R 33 - I 26
Pennsylvania 2012 exit poll:
D 45 - R 35 - I 20
The +4 D margin in the Q poll is a full six points off from the +10 D exit poll margin.
The latter discrepancy, along with the lack of ad spending and its lean-Democratic nature over the past several cycles, leads me to further believe that Pennsylvania is indeed pretty safe for the time being.
As for Ohio, everything points to yet another very close battle. So buckle up!
But Florida? It does appear that Hillary's comfy single-digit lead seems pretty legit at this point, due in large part to Trump's abysmal numbers with women and nonwhites. Obviously, no one should take this state for granted in the least, and the Clinton campaign clearly isn't taking any chances. On the contrary, it appears that they are going all-in for a decisive win in Florida, and all Democrats are well-advised to follow the campaign's lead.
That said, if this Florida poll is anywhere close to being accurate...do the electoral math and try to figure out how in the world Donald Trump can win the presidency.